Czech MEP intervenes on Tymoshenko’s behalf

Yulia Tymoshenko, photo: European People's Party, CC 2.0 license

Czech MEP Zuzana Roithová has confirmed that jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has failed to receive adequate medical attention and is in serious condition. The MEP travelled to Kiev last Friday and was allowed to inspect medical records, which reportedly showed a decision should have been taken on surgery regarding the politician’s lumbar spine.

Yulia Tymoshenko,  photo: European People's Party,  CC 2.0 license
There is growing concern about the health of imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko: Czech MEP Zuzana Roithová confirmed on Tuesday prior to leaving Kiev. According to Roithová, a former health minister in the Czech Republic, Mrs Tymoshenko has been denied proper care. Her daughter Yevhenia, who met with the Czech MEP, stated her mother has been in severe pain: unable to rise from her bed and unable to sleep properly at night. What is worse, Tymoshenko has reportedly been subjected to long hours of interrogation and has lost access to crutches or painkillers. On top of that the family is fearful the politician is purposely being poisoned. Here’s what her daughter Yevhenia Tymoshenko had to say:

“They might be doing something to her, they might be putting poisonous substances in the surroundings, in the air or in the atmosphere.”

Zuzana Roithová
Czech MEP Zuzana Roithová says those fears are substantiated. Certainly many will still recall foul play in Ukraine’s recent past when presidential candidate – and later president – Viktor Yushchenko suffered major facial disfigurement believed to be the result of dioxin poisoning. Czech MEP Zuzana Roithová has confirmed that in Mrs Tymoshenko’s case, she will push for proper testing:

“I am going to recommend that samples of her hair be analysed and for toxicological analysis to be conducted.”

So far, though, her request has been turned down by the Ukrainian authorities. The country’s Deputy Health Minister Raisa Mojsejenko said that the jailed former prime minister had herself “rejected all offers, including basic care”. She insisted there was nothing more Ukraine could do.

Yulia Tymoshenko, a symbol of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, was sentenced last year to seven years in prison for alleged abuse of power. Even then her trial set off alarm bells and suspicions she was being targeted as the result of old political scores. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, for example, said the verdict in her trial had shown that justice in Ukraine was being applied selectively.

Photo: CTK
The Czech Republic has since expressed support for the politician with European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fuele taking an interest. Mrs Tymoshenko’s husband, as well as a former cabinet member, were also granted political asylum in the Czech Republic. Regarding Mrs Tymoshenko’s state of health, foreign doctors were recently allowed access, Czech TV said, but the results of their tests have not been released.