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Tymoshenko's Daughter Says She Fears For Her Mother's Life

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February 17, 2012
In an interview with RFE/RL, Yevhenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, says her mother has been subjected to poor medical care and abusive conditions in prison.

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By Daisy Sindelar
PRAGUE -- The daughter of Ukraine's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko says she's afraid her mother may die because of what she describes as abusive prison conditions.

Yevhenia Tymoshenko -- who this month accused Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych of seeking to "get rid of" her mother -- said the former prime minister has been subjected to poor medical care and abusive conditions since she was initially jailed in August.

The 31-year-old Tymoshenko, speaking to RFE/RL in Prague, said her worries about her mother have grown ever since an alleged incident in January where prison officials took 20 minutes to respond after her mother lost consciousness in her cell.

"Of course, we understand that she's there for political reasons. And the whole democratic world states the same, that it's a politically motivated repression," she said. "But at the moment, we are actually worried just for her life. I'm not worried whether she's going to be back in politics or not, I'm just worried that she'll be alive."

Yulia Tymoshenko, who twice served as prime minister under the presidency of her Orange Revolution cohort Viktor Yushchenko, was handed a seven-year sentence late last year on charges of abuse of office.

In late December, she was moved to a remote women's prison in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Since then, her family members and lawyers have complained of harsh conditions in her jail cell, including too-bright lighting and around-the-clock video surveillance.

Heart Of The Standoff

The state of Yulia Tymoshenko's health has been at the heart of the standoff between Yanukovych's government and the former prime minister's supporters in Ukraine and the West, who say the lengthy jail sentence is politically motivated and an attempt by the president to silence a political rival.

The 51-year-old Tymoshenko is said to suffer from severe back pain and is unable to comfortably walk or sit up. Her daughter, who last saw her mother nearly two weeks ago, says she is largely confined to a bed and is even unable to walk to a telephone located in a prison corridor.
Yulia Tymoshenko (center) is surrounded by her daughter, Yevhenia, and her husband, Oleksandr, in a Kyiv court in October.
Yulia Tymoshenko (center) is surrounded by her daughter, Yevhenia, and her husband, Oleksandr, in a Kyiv court in October.

Ukrainian authorities appeared to relent this week, bringing in two independent panels of doctors from Germany and Canada to perform separate examinations.

But Yevhenia Tymoshenko says Ukrainian officials insisted on supervising the examinations and then seized the written diagnoses without revealing their content.

"The Ukrainian authorities took away my mother's diagnosis. She wasn't able to see it and to pass it to the family and to the defense lawyers," she said. "So we as a family don't know the diagnosis that's been done by the Canadian and German doctors."

Ready To Work

Officials from the Ukrainian Health Ministry have since declared Tymoshenko in satisfactory health and say she could soon be ready for a prison work assignment.

Yevhenia Tymoshenko, who says she fears the official diagnosis means her mother may be deprived of painkillers and other medical necessities, says she hopes the German and Canadian doctors will eventually publicize their assessments on their own.

However, Joseph Lavoie, press secretary for Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that such information is not likely to be made public:

"While we cannot comment on the medical findings of either the Canadian or German doctors due to doctor-patient confidentiality, we can say that the three members of the Canadian medical team are upstanding, highly qualified and experienced medical practitioners," he said.

Yulia Tymoshenko's lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, has indicated the foreign medical teams characterized the former official's condition as grave and suggested she was in need of surgery to repair a herniated disc in her lower spine.

Yulia Tymoshenko's family says the political campaign against her has extended to family members. Her husband, Oleksandr, was recently granted political asylum in the Czech Republic amid fears he, too, would become the target of criminal charges.

Yevhenia Tymoshenko has seen her father twice since his departure from Ukraine, but says she has no similar plans to leave the country.

"I'm more in the public eye, so [authorities] would be more concerned about putting any direct pressure on me," she said. "Of course, the pressure is still there. My family is spread across the world. My mother has been illegally imprisoned for many months; her life is at stake. It's very upsetting and very difficult."

Daisy Sindelar

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: rick
February 17, 2012 16:55
GO TO WORK !

by: Leonid Merritt from: USA
February 17, 2012 18:16
Do not steal PEOPLE money and you will never be punished.
That"s so simple

by: C. M. Greene from: Washington state, U.S.A.
February 17, 2012 21:28
It is inspiring to see a strong woman like Yevhenia Tymoshenko speak out against the political persecution going on in her country and defending her equally strong mother. It was interesting that while Yevhenia was in Washington D.C., she spoke not just in defense of her mother, but in defense of others in Ukraine who are being politically persecuted. I hope she goes into politics, but it's understandable why she would be wary of getting into politics considering the circumstances of her mother.
In Response

by: rick from: milan
February 17, 2012 21:49
Her place is to work on down the mines of lugank or donbass
In Response

by: zman from: USA
February 19, 2012 18:54
She is a criminal.. She made money embezzling state funds and stealing from Russian gas pipelines.. She does NOT deserve anyone's sumpathy.

by: UKR FAN from: Canada
February 18, 2012 03:42
Sounds like Leonid has never been outside of the good old USA. Justice in Ukraine under Yanukovych is not like justice in Western countries. Yes, I have been to Ukraine, and in a couple of conversations with eastern residents, I got a feel of what their Communist regime is like.
In Response

by: rick from: Milan
February 18, 2012 12:13
communist ?!?!?

Hey you wake up !

UA is one of the best example
about what kind of damage
can cause a wild capitalism !
In Response

by: Hetman
February 19, 2012 06:21

Both sides have done bad things but this boils down to East vs Western Ukraine. Its easy to win an election when you have thugs influence people at the polls or threaten to imprison opposing parties unless they take your side.
In Response

by: Rick
February 19, 2012 15:59
When Janukovich wins elections

Jushenko was president
and Timoshenko prime minister .

Do you know that also former presidente Jushenko
testimonied against Timoshenko ?

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
February 18, 2012 08:17
Do not worry Yevhenia,уour mother in safety, because If happens something serious with her -this will be the end of Yanukovych.
She was just unlucky with her character to say unpleasant things in the face.. it is dangerous for Yanukovych, so he took a risk by isolating your mother
If he wanted to destroy her, he would have done it.. and now holding her in prison, he is forced to take care of her health...
and yet:
most Ukrainians guilty of what she is in jail, they do not care on her, but as a consolation to you I want to remind that all people regardless of nationality, angry, envious, cruel..
It's human nature..

by: Jorjo from: Florida
February 19, 2012 19:51
To the web-editor: I sent a comment two days ago, it has not been published. The comment was properly worded, it was questioning the 'objectivity' of RFE/RL publishing a one-sided story on a sensitive subject. Could you please publish the comment, otherwise it will appear that RFE/RL is engaged in censoring its readers/listeners. As taxpayers funded institution RFE/RL objectives are clearly defined and censoring is not among them.
In Response

by: Ricardo-Fernando-Emiliano from: Roberto-Lousiano
February 21, 2012 09:33
Are you living in Mars ? :) you can start a blog website, and tell what do you want at there. No one can delete your entries, comments.

RFE-RL is an American agent website, and they will never let another aimed comment -- that America not. They use "orange" color to show their aims. İts good to see here many news from the world. But read only topics, not entries :)
In Response

by: Anonymous
February 21, 2012 16:22
i think that point interessing Jorjo is this :

"As taxpayers funded institution
RFE/RL objectives are clearly defined
and censoring is not among them. "

by: nando from: rio de janeiro
February 24, 2012 13:11
I have heard many comments about her but she deserve the right to show what she did and why she was forced to... we do not have to judge anyone without full information.
Yevhenia Tymoshenko, I am with you.

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