Ukraine Court Upholds Tymoshenko Verdict

Cries of 'Shame!' greet verdict supporters say is politically motivated

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 29, 2012 7:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ukraine's highest court today upheld the guilty verdict against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in jail on abuse of office charges. Tymoshenko, an architect of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution that promoted democracy, was sentenced to seven years in prison last October, when she was found guilty of exceeding her powers while negotiating a gas contract with Russia. Her supporters say the trial was initiated by opponent President Viktor Yanukovich to keep her out of October elections.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tymoshenko's counterpart in signing the gas deal, has said there was nothing illegal in her actions. The judge ruled that the court had "found no grounds to uphold (Tymoshenko's) appeal" of the verdict, and that the prison term is "adequate to the gravity of the crime." Lawyers for Tymoshenko are appealing the conviction in the European Court for Human Rights. Tymoshenko's following remains strong in Ukraine, and at least 500 supporters gathered today outside the Kiev courthouse, chanting "Freedom to Yulia!" Several people in the courtroom yelled "Shame!" upon hearing the verdict.

Supporters of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko take part in a rally outside Ukraine's High Specialized Court on Civil and Criminal Cases in Kiev, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.   (Efrem Lukatsky)
In this Nov. 4, 2011 file photo former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kiev, Ukraine.   ((AP Photo/Ukrafoto))
In this Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 file photo, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is pictured during her trial, at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Ukraine.   (Efrem Lukatsky)
In this April 29, 2009 file photo, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko talk as they leave a news conference after their talks in Moscow.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
People pass by a large poster of Ukraine's imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 30, 2012.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
In this April 4, 2011 file picture Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during an interview in her office in Kiev, Ukraine.   (AP photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
In this June 29, 2011, file photo, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appears during a trial hearing at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, file)
This Aug. 10, 2011, file photo, shows a tent camp in support of former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko outside the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov, File)
Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko during a pre-trial hearing at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Saturday, June 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
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