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Yulia Tymoshenko Trial: Court Hearing Postponed

By ANNA MELNICHUK 04/28/12 11:12 AM ET AP

KIEV, Ukraine — A Ukrainian court on Saturday postponed a hearing in the second criminal case against the jailed former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, whose treatment in prison has raised concerns in Europe.

She was due in court in the eastern city of Kharkiv, but the judge agreed to postpone the hearing due to the poor state of her health. The next hearing was set for May 21.

Tymoshenko is on a hunger strike to protest alleged abuse in a Kharkiv prison. She claims that guards punched her in the stomach and twisted her arms and legs while forcibly taking her to a hospital to be treated for debilitating back pain.

She is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of abusing her powers as prime minister in negotiating an energy deal with Russia. The West has strongly condemned the case as politically motivated and threatened to freeze cooperation with Ukraine.

In the second case, she is charged with evading taxes while heading an energy company in the 1990s.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was "shocked by the reports about the abuse" suffered by Tymoshenko and shared her family and friends' concerns for her health.

"She is refused appropriate treatment against all legal and moral duties," he was quoted as saying in the Sunday paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Germany has been leading the European Union's critical stance on Ukraine over the Tymoshenko case. The government in Berlin is offering to treat her in Germany, but Kiev has rejected the offer. Tymoshenko refuses to be treated in Ukraine, saying she does not trust the medical system.

Tymoshenko denies the abuse of power charges, saying they are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych, her longtime foe, to bar her from politics. Yanukovych has denied involvement in the case.

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Juergen Baetz contributed from Berlin.

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  • Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to press in front of a court building in Kiev on on August 5, 2011, moments before she was arrested. A Kiev court placed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko under arrest, amid her trial on charges of abuse of power while in office, an AFP correspondent reported.(Getty)

  • Supporters of Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko cheer and shout slogans in front of the Pechersk district court on August 8, 2011 in Kiev as Tymoshenko's return to trial today on charges of abuse of power over gas deals she signed with Russia in 2009. (Getty)

  • A supporter of detained Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko demonstrates with hundreds of people in Kiev on August 24, 2011, trying to march to the offices of President Viktor Yanukovych and defying a court ban to stage a tense protest on Independence Day. A Kiev court banned the day before the protest which is being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Ukrainian parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. (Getty)

  • A Ukrainian opposition lawmaker stands on September 6, 2011 next to a giant poster, featuring former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with the slogan, reading: 'No political repression,' in the parliament while President Viktor Yanukovych addresses the floor during a ceremony marking the opening of a new parliament session in Kiev. Tymoshenko's supporters argue her ongoing trial on abuse of power charges and her arrest are part of a vendetta pursued by the Regions Party of Yanukovych against her faction. (Getty)

  • A huge poster placed by opposition lawmakers, featuring former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with slogans, reading: 'No political repression' and 'Free Ukraine!' covers a part of the Ukrainian Parliament while President Viktor Yanukovych addresses the floor on September 6, 2011 during a ceremony marking the opening of a new parliament session in Kiev. (Getty Images)

  • Police officers block on September 27, 2011 supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in front of the Pechersk district court in Kiev. Ukraine began final hearings on September 27 in the trial of Tymoshenko after a two-week suspension that saw Kiev come under renewed EU pressure to release the opposition leader and ex-premier. Tymoshenko's abuse of power trial has set the current leadership at odds with the European Union in the heat of crunch negotiations on Ukraine taking the first step towards European Union membership. (Getty)

  • Riot policemen block supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in front of the Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 27, 2011. Ukrainian prosecutors today demanded a seven-year sentence for opposition leader and ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko in an abuse of power trial that has undermined Kiev's budding relations with the EU. (Getty )

  • An elderly woman, supporter of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko holds placards with her portraits during a protest in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 28, 2011. (Getty )

  • A woman, supporter of former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko, shouts slogans before a line of police in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. The court on Friday announced the judge will start reading the verdict on Tymoshenko's case from October 11. (Getty)

  • A protester forms a heart shape with his hands as he demonstrates his support for Yulia Tymoshenko outside the court where she is being tried, after breaking a police cordon, in Kiev, on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • A police vehicle supposedly carrying Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko leaves the Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko shout slogans in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on September 30, 2011. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko breal a police line in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on November 11, 2011. (Getty )

  • Ukraine's former Yulia Tymoshenko (L), her daughter Yevgenia and husband Alexander react after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia, a verdict that is set to harm ties with the European Union. Kireyev said the 10-year contract for gas imports from Russia had sustained heavy losses for Ukraine and ruled that her actions were criminal. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Riot policemen block supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (appearing on a poster) in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on October 11, 2011.(Getty)

  • Lawyer Mykola Siryi (L) looks at his client Yulia Tymoshenko in court in Kiev on October 11, 2011. A Ukrainian judge on Tuesday sentenced former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail for abusing her powers in a 2009 gas deal with Russia, a verdict that is set to harm ties with the European Union. Amid emotional scenes in the packed court, judge Rodion Kireyev said the 10 year contract for gas imports from Russia had sustained heavy losses for Ukraine and ruled that her actions were criminal. (Getty)

  • Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko listens as Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court reads his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Policemen escort Ukraine's former Yulia Tymoshenko out of the court after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (L), her daughter Yevgenia and husband Alexander react after Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Kiev Pechersky court rendered his verdict on her case on October 11, 2011. (Getty)

  • Special police hold back the crowd of journalists trying to go to Kiev Pechersky court to cover Yulia Tymoshenko verdict reading in Kiev on October 11, 2011. (Getty Images)

  • Pro-Yulia Tymoshenko protesters demonstrate their support as they sit and shout slogans outside the court. (Getty)

  • Supporters of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko break a police line in front of Pechersk district court in Kiev on October 11, 2011. (Getty Images)


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Filed by Eline Gordts  |