Kyiv, 22 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's prosecutor-general said today he has opened a new criminal case against opposition politician Yuliya Tymoshenko. Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun said he has asked parliament to lift Tymoshenko's immunity from prosecution to allow her arrest. Piskun said his office has broadened a previous investigation and has uncovered evidence that Tymoshenko abused her office while serving as deputy prime minister in 2000.
Tymoshenko, a vocal critic of President Leonid Kuchma, called the new criminal case "political persecution" and a fresh bid to silence her. She was jailed last year on charges of fraud, bribery, and tax evasion stemming from her former leadership of a gas-trading company, but was freed in a legal battle that went to the Supreme Court.
Tymoshenko was elected to parliament in March.