October 20, 2020

Ukraine’s Tymoshenko sentenced to seven years in jail

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was yesterday found guilty of abuse of office and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a trial widely condemned in the West as politically motivated.

Judge Rodion Kireyev also barred Tymoshenko, now the country’s top opposition leader, from occupying government posts for three years after the completion of her prison term and fined her 1.5 billion hryvna ($190 million; euro140 million) in damages to the state.

Tymoshenko remained calm, but didn’t wait for Kireyev to finish reading the lengthy ruling, standing up from her seat and addressing reporters in the courtroom as he spoke. She compared her verdict, which she claimed was written by her longtime foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, to the horrific purges by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

“The year 1937 has returned to Ukraine with this verdict and all the repression of citizens,” she said, adding that she would contest the ruling. “As for me, be sure that I will not stop my fight even for a minute. I will always be with you as long as it is necessary.”

“Nobody, not Yanukovych, not Kireyev, can humiliate my honest name. I have worked and will continue to work for Ukraine’s sake,” Tymoshenko told reporters earlier.

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