Tymoshenko loses appeal, stays in Ukraine jail

A Ukrainian high court rejected an appeal on Wednesday by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko against her conviction for abuse of office, leaving her in jail and Ukraine’s relations with the West severely strained.

Tymoshenko’s defence lawyer said the ruling by a three-judge panel had been steered by President Viktor Yanukovich for political reasons. “These findings have no relation to justice,” Serhiy Vlasenko told journalists after judge Olexander Yelfimov ruled that lower courts had delivered “correct decisions on the crimes of Tymoshenko.” “This is a decision of Yanukovich to keep Tymoshenko in prison,” Vlasenko said.

Western leaders condemned the seven-year prison term meted out to the 51-year-old opposition leader in October as political persecution, and blocked strategic agreements on political association and a free-trade zone with the European Union.

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