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Council Of Europe Head Urges Fair Ukraine Vote

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland (left, in file photo)
Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland has urged authorities in Kyiv to conduct free and fair parliamentary elections in October.

He said the international community will be watching the elections closely and they will play a role in shaping Ukraine's image.

Jagland said the continued jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was accused of abuse of office and sentenced to seven years in jail and heads an opposition political party, is "a problem." Tymoshenko also stands accused of other criminal activities that she says is part of a vendetta led by current President Viktor Yanukovych.

Speaking at a conference on Ukraine-EU relations, Jagland said if Ukraine fails to implement democratic reforms, it risks "international isolation."

He criticized the Ukrainian judicial system for long pretrial-custody periods, slow civil and criminal proceedings, and the nonfulfillment of judicial orders.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AP