KHARKIV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court on Monday adjourned the high-profile tax evasion trial of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko until mid-July, a move that will spare Kiev further negative publicity during the Euro 2012 football tournament.
Western outrage over Tymoshenko’s prosecution, which she says is a politically motivated witch hunt, has already prompted some European politicians to boycott matches.
In a hearing in Kharkiv, Judge Kostyantyn Sadovsky adjourned further hearings in the case until July 10 at the request of state prosecutors, ordering a medical examination of Tymoshenko to establish whether she is fit to attend her own trial.
Receiving treatment for back trouble in a state-run hospital in the same city, the co-leader of the country’s 2004 Orange Revolution has said she is not well enough to attend.
The decision by some politicians to boycott the Ukrainian segment of the football tournament was prompted by a Kiev court, which in October sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in 2009 when prime minister, a charge she denied.
The latest case involves tax evasion and embezzlement charges dating back to the 1990s.
According to an official list of charges published in the Kommersant Ukraine newspaper on Monday, Tymoshenko’s now-defunct gas trading company caused damages equivalent to about $4 million to the state, while she personally evaded paying $85,000 in taxes.
Tymoshenko was not present at the brief hearing Monday, but dozens of her supporters rallied outside the building chanting “Free Yulia!”