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Tymoshenko loses appeal against prison sentence

Tymoshenko loses appeal against prison sentence
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Former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has lost her appeal against abuse of office charges.

The ruling, in Kiev, means her seven-year jail sentence stands and she will not be released in the near future.

The case has soured Ukraine’s ties with the west.

As a fierce critic of President Viktor Yanukovich, Tymoshenko’s backers claim she is the victim of a “personal vendetta.”

“After this decision, President Yanukovich stops being a president, he becomes a dictator of the criminal regime,” said supporter Oleksandr Turchynov.

Tymoshenko was sentenced for overstepping her authority while negotiating a gas contract with Russia in 2009.

She denies any wrongdoing.

A case has been filed with the European Court of Human Rights, which is expected to be fast-tracked.

The EU and America have condemned Tymoshenko’s detention and demanded her release.

The European Union this week refused to sign a key partnership deal with Ukraine because of the case.

President Yanukovich has said it is down to the courts to decide Tymoshenko’s fate.