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Demonstrators Clash With Police As Court Hears Tymoshenko's Appeal

Ukrainian riot police block a gate outside the courtroom during a rally held by supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko before a hearing against her jail sentence in Kyiv on December 13.
Demonstrators supporting jailed Ukrainian former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have battled police outside a court hearing her appeal against a seven-year prison sentence.

Hundreds of Tymoshenko supporters attempted to break through a police cordon preventing access to the Kyiv appeals courtroom.

Reports say the clashes blocked some traffic on Kyiv's main street.

Tymoshenko was not attending the court session. Her lawyers were planning to argue that the October 11 sentence on abuse-of-power charges should be dropped.

They were also expected to argue that the former prime minister should be released from prison because of poor health. Tymoshenko is reportedly no longer able to walk as a result of her incarceration.

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele earlier on December 13 visited Tymoshenko in jail.

Fuele said in a statement that he assured Tymoshenko that the EU "would continue to follow closely her appeal and would insist upon the need for her to benefit from of all her rights to defend herself in a fair process."

compiled from agency reports