A Kharkov judge ordered a recess in the case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko until Oct. 25, citing the absence of the main defendant.
Judge Konstantin Sadovsky said the court found it impossible to hear the case of financial violations at a major gas trading company, United Energy Systems of Ukraine, without Tymoshenko present, Interfax reported Monday.
Supporters of the former prime minister gathered outside the courtroom and shouted "Shame!", "Freedom for Yulia!" and "Yulia is a hero of Ukraine!"
Meanwhile, state prosecutor Viktoriya Kalita said that Tymoshenko's defense lawyers have chosen the strategy of delaying court proceedings to avoid hearing the case.
She said that in requesting the case's dismissal due to an absence of criminal wrongdoing the defense was "making statements for the public."
Kalita agreed that Tymoshenko's presence in the courtroom is necessary, but noted that the prosecution will not request that the defendant be forcibly brought to hearings in order "not to give the defense reasons to speak of some form of coercion or torture."
Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2011 for abuse of office in a trial she claims was used by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to settle political scores.