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Tymoshenko's Health Failing In Prison, Daughter Says

November 11, 2011

KYIV -- The daughter of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says her mother has fallen seriously ill in prison and is confined to her bed as prosecutors interrogate her on fresh charges, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Yevhenia Carr, Tymoshenko's 31-year-old daughter, said in an interview with RFE/RL that she feared her mother's life is in danger. She added that the authorities continued to refuse to allow Tymoshenko to be examined by her personal physician.

"At the moment my mother is in a very critical state; she is kept in a cell, she cannot get up from the prison bed," Carr said.

"And for the first time in the history of imprisonment, in criminal history, or [in the history] of the prisons of Ukraine, the investigation is carried out in a cell when the person is lying on a prison bed and cannot move."

Carr said she last saw her mother on November 4, shortly before her attorney, Serhiy Vlasenko, and the Penitentiary Service reported a worsening of the former prime minister's health.

The service announced the next day that during her morning walk, Tymoshenko injured her back "due to her own negligence," but did not elaborate.

Denies All Charges

Ukrainian prosecutors on November 11 charged Tymoshenko with tax evasion, theft, and concealing foreign-currency revenues. The charges stem from her tenure in the 1990s as head of the gas-trading firm United Energy Systems of Ukraine.

Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted on October 11 of abusing her powers as prime minister in connection with a 2009 gas-supply deal between the Ukrainian state energy company, Naftogaz, and Russia's Gazprom.

The former premier's lawyers say they expect a preliminary hearing in her appeal of that conviction to take place on December 13.

Tymoshenko has denied the charges against her and described them as part of a vendetta waged by President Viktor Yanukovych, who narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in the 2010 presidential election.

The European Union has warned Ukraine that free-trade and political-association agreements with the bloc are in danger if Tymoshenko remains in jail.

Health Concerns

Carr, who is married to the British rock singer Sean Carr, accused Yanukovych and "his team and judges and courts and prosecutors" of trying to "resurrect old cases that have no legal basis or proof" in order to persecute her mother.

"Now we can characterize this as torture on a person who is innocent, whose guilt has not been proven, and who is thrown into prison because of political reasons," she added. "So we as a family are very worried for the state of her health and the state of health of other political prisoners."

The exact nature of Tymoshenko's illness is unclear. According to her lawyers, she has suffered from health problems in the three months since her arrest. They say Tymoshenko had asked investigators not to interrogate her over the latest charges because of back pain that has left her unable to walk.

In August, she appeared in court with unexplained bruises and a pale complexion and requested to be examined by her personal physician -- a request that was denied by prison authorities.

At the time, the European Union expressed concern and called on the Ukrainian authorities to "ensure a timely and independent medical examination and professional medical care."


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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