Gas case hearing: Tymoshenko appears without lawyers

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July 27, 2011, 12:27 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

On Wednesday court has begun a hearing in the gas case launched against ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Pechersky District Court in Kyiv has begun a hearing in the gas case launched against ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. On Wednesday, Tymoshenko is present in the courtroom without lawyers, an Interfax correspondent said.

Representatives from the Prosecutor General's Office and the attorney of the civil plaintiff, Naftogaz Ukraine, are also present, as are parliamentarians, their aides and journalists.

Police officers are maintaining order in the courtroom.

Tymoshenko also is going to petition for disqualification of the presiding judge Rodion Kireyev from the start of the gas case hearing at the Pechersky Court.

"Since I was deprived of even the right to speak at a court hearing, today I want to start my court appearance by lodging a special petition for the recusal of the judge who departed from all the regulations provided by the Criminal Procedural Code," Tymoshenko told journalists before the hearing.

I am going to ask that my lawyers be given access to the legal process, she added, without giving lawyers names.

Tymoshenko faces a number of other criminal charges related to her two terms as prime minister as well as earlier business activities. She has been accused, in particular, of misusing receipts from the sale of carbon emission permits.

Since Yanukovich came to power, several former members of Tymoshenko's cabinet have been prosecuted for alleged offences in office and at least one has fled Ukraine.

Western governments and the European Union have expressed concern over those cases and their potential political motivation.

Yanukovich has denied that any politics was involved and says his government is simply fighting corruption.
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