Officials at the Kachanivska Correctional Colony, the prison in Kharkiv where former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving her sentence, have asked law enforcement officials to protect their families because of alleged threats of violence, the State Penitentiary Service said on Saturday.
"Constant numerous visits to the Kachanivska Colony by people's deputies [lawmakers] have destabilized the routine of the institution. There have been confirmed instances of unjustified grievances and threats of violence against institution personnel and members of their families," the service said in a statement.
"For this reason, employees of the penitentiary have filed applications with prosecution services and the police to protect family members of individual colony officials and institute a criminal investigation into the threats of violence," it said.
The service said Andriy Kovalenko, first deputy head of the prison, was one of those who had allegedly received threats.
Kovalenko "is not hiding and is carrying out his duties," the service said.
Tymoshenko's defense lawyers and daughter had claimed earlier that Kovalenko had hit the former premier in a bid to force her to end a hunger strike.
The Penitentiary Service said in its statement that official investigations "have detected no instance of Tymoshenko being beaten or having physical force used against her."
"Tymoshenko has made no complaints to the hospital. Generally speaking, there has been no case of any special equipment of physical force being used against women convicts over the past few years," the statement said. "Tymoshenko told the head of the institution that she would not declare a hunger strike."
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively public debate through the Disqus system. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. The Kyiv Post will ban flagrant violators. If you think that a comment or commentator should be banned, please flag the offending material.
Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the
www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials
contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior
written permission of Public Media at firstname.lastname@example.org
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal
use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of