US urges releasing jailed Ukrainian ex-premier

Washington, May 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US Tuesday called on Ukraine to release Yulia Tymoshenko, the jailed former prime minister and a leader of the ex-Soviet republic’s 2004 “Orange Revolution” who became a strident opponent of the current government.

“We reiterate our call that Mrs. Tymoshenko be released and that the practice of selective prosecution in the Ukraine end,” US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told a news briefing.

The statement followed a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights earlier Tuesday that Tymoshenko’s 2011 conviction for abuse of power in negotiating a major energy deal with Russia and her subsequent imprisonment were politically motivated.

The ruling said the imprisonment violated her human rights.

The Ukrainian government has insisted that Tymoshenko’s prosecution was in strict compliance with the law.

President Viktor Yanukovych has said he would consider a pardon after she answers for other charges against her, including embezzlement, tax evasion and organising a murder – charges which Tymoshenko denies.

Tymoshenko, known for her trademark blonde braid, shot to international fame in 2004 when she joined Viktor Yushchenko in leading massive street protests in Kiev against the results of a presidential election that became known as the Orange Revolution.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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