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Tymoshenko Says European Court Is ‘Only Hope’ Against Ukraine

Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former prime minister, asked the European human rights court to condemn her imprisonment as she fights a conviction related to a 2009 natural gas import contract.

Tymoshenko told her lawyer to tell the European Court of Human Rights today that that tribunal is “the only hope” for her against a politically-motivated prosecution aimed at muting the opposition before October parliamentary elections in the country.

“She is absolutely isolated” and has been deprived of rights normally given Ukrainian prisoners, her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, told the judges in Strasbourg, France, today. He said he saw her yesterday and “she asked me to address you” for help “because there is no fair judiciary in Ukraine.”

Tymoshenko, 51, was among the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution. She has accused Viktor Yanukovych, who defeated her in the 2010 presidential election, and his administration, of corruption and violating democratic principles. The case has eroded U.S. and European trust in the former Soviet republic, and the European Union, U.S. and Russia have condemned her conviction.

Last year, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail and banned from public office for three years by a Ukrainian court that ruled the natural gas deal was an abuse of office. The national court found that she harmed Ukraine by signed a natural gas supply and transit accord with Russia in 2009, ending a price dispute that had disrupted deliveries for weeks during freezing weather.

The case is Tymoshenko v. Ukraine, European Court of Human Rights, 49872/11.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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