As Yulia Tymoshenko (pictured) remains in prison, the mayor of Rome's office has expressed its solidarity by putting up a portrait of her. The office hopes that the initiative to spead to the town halls of other EU capitals.
The Rome mayor's office has put up a portrait of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on the facade of its headquarters as a token of support for her, Tymoshenko's Batkivschyna (Fatherland) party said.
The picture was hung on the wall of the building on Capitol Hill during a ceremony at which Mayor Gianni Alemanno expressed solidarity with Tymoshenko and promised to call on the mayors of other European Union capitals to take up the initiative.
Those present at the ceremony included Mykola Tomenko, deputy chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, Arsen Avakov, leader of Batkivschyna Kharkiv regional branch, and Andriy Shevchenko, a parliament deputy representing Batkivschyna.
Tomenko thanked Italy for supporting efforts to have Tymoshenko released and expressed hope that this support would "help achieve the release of Yulia Tymoshenko and her being granted the right to full-scale participation in the political life of the country, including participation in the presidential election in 2015."
Kyiv's Pechersky District Court convicted Tymoshenko in October 2011 of exceeding authority in negotiating a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009, when she was prime minister, and sentenced her to seven years in prison. Ukraine's current leaders claim that the deal, which remains in effect, is damaging to the country.
Tymoshenko, who turns 52 on Tuesday, was taken to a prison in the city of Kharkiv in December last year to serve her term, but has been receiving inpatient treatment at a hospital in that city since May.