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'Comfortable Minibus' Takes Ukraine Ex-PM To Jail


A view of the prison in Kharkiv where Yulia Tymoshenko will be held after being sentenced to seven years for abuse of office.

A view of the prison in Kharkiv where Yulia Tymoshenko will be held after being sentenced to seven years for abuse of office.

Ukraine's state penitentiary service says that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been moved from a detention center in Kyiv to the women's prison at Kharkiv.

Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party said she was taken from the detention center at 5 a.m. local time in a wheelchair because she couldn't walk under her own power.

Other reports denied Tymoshenko needed a wheelchair.

The former prime minister was reportedly transferred aboard a "comfortable minibus" and allowed to bring 12 suitcases of personal belongings with her.

Fatherland First Deputy Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov described Tymoshenko's transfer to jail as a "New Year's gift" from political opponent President Viktor Yanukovych

"This was his response to her 'letter to the dictator,'" Turchynov said.

Meanwhile, Tymoshenko's daughter, Yevhenia, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that reports of minibuses and luggage and other details were "all untrue and created and fabricated by the regime."

"At 6 a.m., I was queuing to give her some food for New Year, and we were rejected at prison, [and they] said such a person doesn't stay in this facility," she said, adding that neither she nor her mother's lawyers knew of the transfer beforehand.

Tymoshenko was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to seven years in jail for abuse of office while she was prime minister.

with agency reports

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