Support The Moscow Times!

Tymoshenko to Boycott Appeal Trial

KIEV — Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her lawyers will boycott appellate court hearings looking into her conviction on abuse-of-office charges, they said Thursday, calling the trial a farce.

Tymoshenko and her lawyers accused the appeals court of being biased and said there was no hope for justice in local courts.

"I have decided to refuse to take part in this shameful process and not to appeal the decisions of the two courts," she said in a statement. "Seeking truth and justice in Ukrainian courts is an absolutely useless task."

Tymoshenko has not attended any appeal hearings, staying in a jail hospital due to back pain. She has been under arrest since early August.

In a separate statement, Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko said her defense team would also boycott the hearings.

"These are not court hearings. This is a farce with clowns dressed in judge robes and clowns wearing prosecutors' shoulder straps, and it makes no sense to take part in this farce," he said.

It was not clear whether the hearings would proceed in the absence of Tymoshenko and her lawyers.

Vlasenko had earlier said Tymoshenko's hopes lay with the European Court for Human Rights, which said this week that it would fast-track her case "in view of the serious and sensitive nature of the allegations raised."

Tymoshenko, 51, the fiercest opponent of President Viktor Yanukovych, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October in a trial condemned by the West as politically motivated. It has also jeopardized Ukraine's plans for closer ties with Europe.

She was found guilty of overstepping her powers in forcing through a 2009 gas deal with Russia and has filed an appeal, dismissing the trial as part of Yanukovych's campaign to get rid of a political rival.

Tymoshenko has served twice as prime minister after leading the 2004 Orange Revolution, which ruined Yanukovych's first bid for the presidency.

Yanukovych, who beat her in the 2010 presidential runoff, said this week that he had nothing to do with her case and it was up to the courts and legislators to decide Tymoshenko's fate.

The European Union this week put off the initialing of agreements on political association and free trade with Ukraine, citing Tymoshenko's case as an example of selective justice.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more