Ukraine finds 'Iron Lady' appealing

Ukraine’s highest appeal court has begun reviewing an appeal petition by former Ukrainian premier Yulia Tymoshenko, who did not attend the hearings due to health problems. It is Tymoshenko’s last chance to escape seven years behind bars.

The first day of the hearings has ended with the court announcing a break till Wednesday. Tymoshenko`s lawyers say they fear that the decision may mean compulsory attendance for their client.

We are not ruling out that the break was announced to forcefully deliver Yulia Vladimirovna [Tymoshenko] to court in any condition, in any form, to conduct the hearings,” said Tymoshenko`s lawyer Aleksandr Pakhotnyuk.

According to Ukrainian law, Tymoshenko has to be present in the courtroom for a decision to be taken. However, the Ukrainian ex-PM was not in court on Tuesday.

While the official diagnosis has not been disclosed, reports say Tymoshenko is suffering from either a serious blood disease or problems with her spine.

Meanwhile hundreds of Tymoshenko’s supporters came to the court building in Kiev. The crowd tried to storm the building, but faced fierce police resistance.

Two police officers were reported injured in the clashes. The Interior Ministry will decide whether to open a criminal case in connection with the incident once the officers have undergone medical examinations.

On October 11 Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for exceeding the extent of her power during the signing of gas deals with Russia back in 2009.

The move to put Tymoshenko behind bars equally infuriated the EU and Russia, which rigorously stressed that all the agreements between Moscow and Kiev were signed in full accordance with both countries’ legislation.

The EU said that unless Yulia Tymoshenko is freed, there will be no agreement of association between the European Union and Ukraine signed in the foreseeable future.

There are hot debates also on other reasons to get Tymoshenko freed from the detention center where she has been for the last four-and-a-half months. One of such reasons is Tymoshenko’s health condition – it is believed that former PM has a spinal hemorrhage and even a reported blood disease. Some sources say she cannot walk and she has to be carried by guards whenever she is taken from her cell in the detention center for legal proceeding.

The charge of abuse of power against Tymoshenko is not the only accusation against the former head of government. Several criminal cases have been opened against her, including tax evasion and unlawful usage of funds received by Ukraine from the signing of the Kyoto Protocol.

Also, several cases were issued against her in connection with her business activities 15 years ago, when she ran United Energy Systems of Ukraine and struck deals with Russia’s Defense Ministry.

One of the latest moves of the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko party, the one she used to head, has become an agreement to line with the ruling Party of Regions and sign laws that contradict Bloc’s policies – only for Yulia Tymoshenko to be released.

Officially, Kiev states the Tymoshenko case should be conducted in full accordance with the country’s legislation, and that is how they are trying to run the case.