Ukraine: Yulia Tymoshenko to remain in prison

30 August 2012 – Presseurop Gazeta Wyborcza, Les Echos

Kiev’s Supreme Court upheld the lower court's verdict in the case of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko sentencedin October last year to seven years in prison and a fine of €150 million for alleged abuse of office over a gas deal she signed with Russia in 2009. ”It is the end of illusions,” writesGazeta Wyborcza, and “ultimate proof” that authorities in Kiev want to keep Yulia Tymoshenko in jail for the next few years and particularly during the parliamentary elections in October. The former PM will not be pardoned nor will there be any compromise with the current authorities. In fact the government has already declared open war on the opposition with all its dire consequences including the destabilisation of the country. The Warsaw daily continues –

This will turn the Ukrainian political scene into a gunfighters’ duel. The results are already evident. Ukraine’s relations with EU are basically frozen. There is no hope for quick ratification and implementation of the association agreementthat would bind the country with the West. Kiev is sitting on the fence between Russia and Europe. Ukraine is not reforming itself and is losing its leading position among former USSR countries as far as progress in terms of democracy, pluralism or the freedom of the press are concerned.

However, in Paris, Les Echos ironically asks about Europe's intangible position –

Despite the facts, [...] the EU seems to possesses irrefutable evidence proving the innocence of the former 'gas princess'. Why else would it talk about "political trials", and turn its back on the Ukrainian people, who ask only that Europe only be opened up to them, and why not? Ukraine is in a strong geopolitical position while at the same time is strategically delicate, it could serve as a go-between with Russia.

Les Echos fears that the EU is getting hung up on the matter, and adds –

It's a safe bet that the inflexibility of Kiev justice could lead the European Court of Human Rights to take too much account of issues outside the court.

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