Ukraine's Tymoshenko Sentenced to 7 Years

Former PM's trial said to be politically motivated
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2011 6:41 AM CDT
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko seen during her trial at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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(Newser) – Ukraine's former PM Yulia Tymoshenko was convicted of exceeding her powers today and given a seven-year prison sentence in a trial that US and European leaders have called politically motivated. The charges centered around Tymoshenko ordering a state gas company to sign a deal with Russia in 2009 that resulted in the state overpaying some $200 million. Tymoshenko herself claims President Viktor Yanukovych is using the trial to sideline her.

"This sentence, passed by the president, will change nothing in my life or in my struggle. I will fight for Ukraine, her freedom and independence," Tymoshenko said prior to the court session. She plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. The Wall Street Journal notes that she could be released even after a conviction if parliament decriminalizes her actions. European officials have encouraged such a solution, since her jailing could threaten Ukraine's relations with the West.

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