Saturday, August 6, 2011

Former Ukrainian PM arrested

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

Source: Press TV

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been taken to a detention center on the orders of the judge at her trial for “systematically violating courtroom proceedings.”

After Judge Rodion Kireyev adjourned the court until Monday, Tymoshenko was driven away from the court under a heavy police escort on Friday, with members of the opposition chanting “Shame,” Reuters reported.

Hundreds of her supporters took to the streets of downtown Kiev, and Tymoshenko's party has called for members of her bloc to stage more rallies in front of the courthouse in the capital.

Ukrainian prosecutors charged Tymoshenko with abuse of office, accusing her of illegally forcing state energy company Naftogaz to sign a gas supply contract with Russia in 2009.

Tymoshenko is Ukraine's leading opposition politician and the most formidable opponent of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich, who says her actions in the gas deal with Russia were a “betrayal of national interests.”

The former prime minister has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Since the start of the trial in June, Tymoshenko has openly mocked Judge Kireyev in the courtroom, refusing to stand when addressing him and calling him “Yanukovich's puppet.”

The European Union has also censured Ukraine for putting Tymoshenko on trial for her criticism of the president's policy, saying that the European country “must do more to show its commitment to rule of law and put an end to such spurious proceedings.”

Tymoshenko, who twice served as prime minister between 2005 and 2010, says the case against her is “politically motivated” and has been “fabricated on the orders of Yanukovich,” who only narrowly defeated her in last year's presidential election.

Over 400 officials are currently on trial in Ukraine, but Tymoshenko is the most prominent figure being prosecuted.

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