After a Ukrainian court in Kiev sentenced Yulia Tymoshenko to 7 years in prison because of alleged illegal actions during her time as Ukraine’s prime minister, government authorities have been cracking down hard on her political allies as part of its plan to repress Tymoshenko’s supporters and keep the current government in place. Two prominent individuals have so far been sentenced to prison due to ridiculous accusations of abusing their powers while in office are Heorhiy Filipchuk and Yuriy Lutsenko.
Heorhiy Filipchuk, former Environment Minister, who has been under house arrest for 1 year was found guilty of illegally signing an agreement with a firm regarding Ukraine’s resources in the nearby Black Sea. He has been sentenced to 3 years in jail.
Meanwhile, former Minister of the Interior Yuriy Lutsenko was sentenced to four years in prison for abusing power and embezzling just this past weekend.
Lutsenko will be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights on the 17th of April due to allegations of the Ukrainian government violating his rights.
The dramatic case revolved around Tymoshenko’s term as prime minister when in 2009 she allegedly pushed Ukrainian’s state energy company Naftogaz into signing a 10 year gas contract with Russia. Testimonies against Tymoshenko were given by former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko and others.
Along with the charges associated with Naftogaz, Tymoshenko was also charged with carelessly spending the money given by the Kyoto Protocol.
According to the court, Tymoshenko owes Naftogaz 1.5 billion hryvnia, the equivalent of $186 million, for the costly gas contract with Russia.
Tymoshenko, her supporters, the European Union, the United States and other organizations have accused the Ukrainian government of politically persecuting Tymoshenko so she is barred from the next election.
Tymoshenko happens to be one of the most popular (and coincidentally part of the opposition) politicians in Ukraine. During her trial, thousands of protesters supportive of Tymoshenko, young and old, gathered outside and inside of the courthouse often clashing with the riot police while shouting “Shame! Shame!”.
Current President Viktor Yanukovich, who became Tymoshenko’s nemesis ever since the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution exposed Yanukovich’s fraud and corrupt election, putting Tymoshenko into power, insisted he had “nothing to do with the trial”.
The European Union has been warning the Ukrainian government to act carefully regarding Tymoshenko and the apparent political persecution of her allies, straining relations between the two entities.
Currently, Tymoshenko’s health is reported to be fine by authorities. Tymoshenko has however reported back pain and refused “luxurious medical treatment” offered by authorities, saying:
“At a time when millions of people do not have enough money for medications and treatment for them and their children, you are demonstrating the luxurious facilities in hospitals and prisons for show.
That is why I absolutely refuse the artificially created fake conditions at the hospital of Ukrzaliznytsia.
I demand that all these conditions should be used for the treatment of sick children… As for my treatment, please follow the advice of independent doctors and the European Court of Human Rights without any special preferences.”