Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has insisted on her innocence during her final speech in an abuse-of-office trial criticized by the West.
Tymoshenko, addressing the courtroom packed with supporters, journalists, and foreign diplomats, accused President Viktor Yanukovych of "lynching" her to get rid of a strong political opponent.
"In my case, the court's verdict was first written by the presidential administration, then a criminal case was launched, then it was investigated, in quotation marks, by the SBU [state security service] and the prosecutor's office, and then they started the trial," Tymoshenko said.
Tymoshenko is charged with exceeding her authority during the signing of a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009.
The United States and the European Union have criticized the trial as politically motivated. Brussels has warned that jailing Tymoshenko may cost Ukraine its integration with the European Union.
compiled from agency reports