Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukraine may consider Tymoshenko bill

RIA Novosti

14:06 17/10/2011 MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian parliament may consider decriminalizing the charges against jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday.

Tymoshenko was jailed for seven years last week for acting beyond her powers in signing a gas deal with Russia in 2009. Both the West and Russia condemned the verdict.

Supreme Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said the bill was introduced to change the criminal code for those charged with economic crimes from mandatory imprisonment to fines. He described the bill, proposed by President Viktor Yanukovych earlier this month, as “urgent.”

Article 365 of the Criminal Code on abuse of office could be decriminalized under the proposed amendments, paving the way for the release of Tymoshenko, Lytvyn said

The European Union has said Tymoshenko’s jailing has put Ukraine’s hopes for associate EU membership in jeopardy.

Two days after the verdict was handed down, investigators opened a second criminal case against a one-time Orange Revolution leader, accusing her of embezzling $405 million in state funds through gas purchases from Russia.

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