Amnesty International has repeated its call for the immediate release of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was sentenced
this week to seven years in prison over a 2009 gas deal.
A Kyiv court convicted the Orange Revolution heroine of abuse of power for signing the gas-import contract with Russia and ordered her to pay some $190 million in damages.
Tymoshenko was openly defiant of the court's legitimacy and derided the process as politically motivated. She lost a race for president in early 2010 to the current incumbent, Viktor Yanukovych, whose initial election sparked the 2004-05 Orange Revolution.
Heather McGill, Amnesty International's representative in Kyiv, reportedly told a Ukrainian television station that Tymoshenko should be freed because her trial had been conducted "for political reasons."
The verdict was harshly criticized by the United States and the European Union, whose officials suggested the verdict would worsen relations with Ukraine.
Oleg Voloshin, a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on October 13 that the recent wave of international criticism "was fairly predictable" and came from "those who, as a matter of principle, do not want to see Ukraine in the European Union."
compiled from agency reports