Lawmakers overwhelmingly rescind libel law on Oct. 2
A total of 349 lawmakers out of 450 in the Verkhovna Rada voted this morning to rescind a draconian libel law that would have imprisoned journalists for defamation. The reversal comes two weeks after a majority in the same body -- 244 lawmakers -- voted for the legislation in the first reading.
Lawmakers backed down in the face of overwhelming international and domestic criticism, including from President Viktor Yanukovych, after his pro-presidential Party of Regions supported the law along with the Communist Party and members of Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's bloc.
"I consider this a victory of civil society and journalists in particular," said Arseniy Yatseniuk, the opposition leader. He also said that he rescheduled a meeting with Yulia Tymoshenko to make it to the vote. The jailed former prime minister is now in a Kharkiv hospital, where she is being treated for spinal hernia.
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