KHARKIV - A Ukrainian court on Tuesday adjourned the tax evasion and embezzlement trial of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko until Oct. 15, citing her inability to attend the trial due to poor health.
The 51-year-old opposition leader is serving a seven-year
sentence on a separate abuse-of-office charge linked to a gas
deal she brokered with Russia in 2009 as prime minister.
A Ukrainian high court last month rejected her appeal
against that conviction and Tymoshenko’s lawyers now plan to
challenge it in the European Court for Human Rights.
Her trial in the city of Kharkiv for alleged tax evasion and
embezzlement going back to the 1990s has been put off several
times as she refused to attend because of back trouble for which
she is receiving treatment in a state-run hospital.
“The court has ruled that it is impossible to hear the case
in the absence of defendant Tymoshenko and her attorney Yevgenia
(Tymoshenko’s daughter),” Judge Kostyantyn Sadovsky told the
Tymoshenko, the main political adversary of President Viktor
Yanukovich, has dismissed all charges against her as politically
The European Union has supported Tymoshenko, calling her
case an example of selective justice and shelving key agreements
on free trade and political association with Ukraine over the
Tymoshenko led the 2004 Orange Revolution protests that
doomed Yanukovich’s first bid for the presidency, and has since
served twice as prime minister.
Yanukovich, who beat her in a close run-off to become
president in February 2010, has refused to intervene in
Tymoshenko’s case despite being urged to do so by the West.
A “guilty” verdict in the tax evasion case would keep
Tymoshenko behind bars even if the European Court of Human
Rights eventually overturns her first conviction.