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Tymoshenko hearing enters critical stage

Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is on trial accused of abuse of power, has been back in court after a two-week break in hearings due to ill-health. Her legal team failed to turn proceedings to their advantage.

Tymoshenko has been on trial since June and was arrested in August on charges of contempt of court.The opposition leader spent the two-week break from court hearings in a local pre-trial detention center, preparing for the debates and self-medicating a sore throat, as she does not trust the intentions of prison doctors.As the case entered its final phase, the former prime minister’s defense team struggled in vain to reverse a situation which looks set to stain Tymoshenko’s reputation and curtail her political ambitions. Tymoshenko’s lawyers earlier applied to the court to re-open the investigation into the “gas case” as they say they have not yet completed their examination of all the case materials. On Tuesday, the prosecution and the defense continued their debates but the court refused to satisfy the motion of Tymoshenko’s attorneys to re-open the investigation."The court ruled to decline the petition," Judge Rodion Kireyev stated. Prosecutor Liliya Frolova has said that Yulia Tymoshenko’s guilt in the Russian gas supply contract case has been fully proved in court."The prosecution believes that the guilt of the defendant has been fully proved through the evidence of witnesses  and the examination of evidence," she  said  during  the court debates.   The defense team also applied to the court twice to have their motion considered and to lift the preventive measures imposed on Tymoshenko and release her.As RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky reported from Kiev, where the hearing took place, some say that Tymoshenko might still get a prison sentence up to seven years. But most experts believe she will most likely get a suspended sentence of five years which will automatically take her out of the presidential race in 2015 and the parliamentary campaign due to be held in autumn next year. Tymoshenko has been on trial since June and was arrested in August on charges of contempt of court.She is accused of abuse of power over gas deals with Russia during her term as prime minister in 2009. If convicted, Tymoshenko faces up to ten years in prison. The former PM denies all the charges against her and has declared the accusations to be false and politically motivated.Tymoshenko's arrest sparked mass protests in Ukraine's capital, Kiev. Police clashed with her supporters, who set up camp outside the court where the hearings are taking place.