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Scuffles in Ukraine as Tymoshenko appeal starts

Scuffles in Ukraine as Tymoshenko appeal starts
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Supporters of jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko have clashed with security forces at the start of her appeal hearing.

Scuffles broke out as demonstrators demanding her freedom gathered outside the court in Kiev. When some tried to storm the building, riot police pushed them back.

The 51-year-old herself remains behind bars, unable to attend court, her lawyer says, because of health problems.

EU Commissioner Stefan Fuele has visited her and raised her plight with President Viktor Yanukovich. The case has jeopardised next week’s planned summit between the bloc and Ukraine.

The EU agrees with Tymoshenko that her trial was politically motivated.

Jailed in October for seven years for abuse of office when she was premier, she now faces a new charge of tax evasion. Her lawyer says authorities plan to keep her locked up indefinitely.

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