The EU has formally called on the Ukranian president to pardon his jailed opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko. The move is an attempt to end the stalemate over her jail sentence which threatens to derail landmark agreements between Brussels and Kiev.
Suffering from ill-health, Tymoshenko said she would accept to go to Germany for treatment, but would not give up her role in the opposition, as her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko explains.
“Yulia Tymoshenko insists on full legal and political rehabilitation, but she realizes that resolving her case is on the list of EU-criteria [to sign the Association Agreement], so she’s ready to take such a compromise, as seeking treatment abroad – according to the results of the pardon decree.”
The EU wants her released from her seven-year sentence after her trial for abuse of office, which she says was politically motivated, but she is also a defendant in other cases. Volodymyr Oliynyk, an MP from Yanukovich’s party says the deal puts the president in an uncomfortable position.“Until these (other) issues are closed there is a challenge for the President whether to pardon Mrs. Tymoshenko or not. Neither in Ukraine, nor elsewhere in the world will you find any precedent when the person was pardoned, while being a defendant in other criminal cases.”
The EU deal comes ahead of an important meeting in Vilnius in November, where Tymoshenko’s release is being used as a bartering chip for the signing of important association and free trade deals with Brussels.