World Bulletin/News Desk
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was unlawfully held in detention before she was tried and sentenced to jail in 2011, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday in a verdict that may add to Western complaints to Kiev over her fate.
The French-based rights court dismissed allegations by Tymoshenko that she was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, but ruled the pre-trial detention order was an unjustified restriction of her freedom at that time.
The ruling stated: "The Court held in particular, that Ms Tymoshenko's pre-trial detention had been arbitrary, that the lawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed and, that she had no possibility to seek compensation for her unlawful deprivation of liberty".
Tymoshenko, 52, was twice prime minister before losing a close presidential race in 2010 to Viktor Yanukovich, whose 2004 bid for the post was thwarted by the Orange Revolution, a wave of pro-democracy protests she had helped lead.
She was tried and sentenced in October 2011 to seven years jail for abuse of office in relation to her role in a gas deal with Russia that saddled Ukraine with exorbitant energy costs.
The European Union suspended work on free trade and broader cooperation pacts with Kiev over the case and EU ministers said this week the accords were being stymied in particular due to "selective justice", a term used by the West to convey concern about prosecution of rival politicians.
Tymoshenko's lawyer denounced what he called Ukraine's "pure, concentrated political prosecution" of Tymoshenko.
Ukraine had been found wanting by Europe's highest court on human rights issues and should now release her, said lawyer Serguei Vlasenko.
The European Court of Human Rights verdict can be appealed if Ukraine wishes to do so in the next three months but in any case it did not include an order to pay damages because Tymoshenko had not sought compensation.
Since last May, Tymoshenko, 52, has been receiving treatment for back trouble in a state-run hospital in the city of Kharkiv.
President Yanukovich has said he cannot order her release because Tymoshenko is also due to be tried in a separate case on tax evasion and embezzlement charges and she is being investigated also in a murder case. She has denied all charges against her.
The European rights court is also looking into complaints by Tymoshenko about the 2011 trial and sentence, but said it would rule on part side of the case at a later date.Last Mod: 30 Nisan 2013, 15:24