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Opposition Walks Out Of Ukrainian Parliament 'Protesting Repression'

The Ukrainian opposition have denounced the legislation used to jail former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Opposition Walks Out Of Ukrainian Parliament 'Protesting Repression'

KYIV -- Opposition deputies have walked out of a Ukrainian parliament session "to protest what they called President Viktor Yanukoyvch's "lawlessness," RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The deputies of the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko -- Fatherland (BYuT-Batkivshchyna) faction and Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense (NUNS) said on December 9 that "the organizers of the current repression should be held accountable for their deeds, and developed countries should introduce personal sanctions against them."

BYuT-Batkivshchyna deputy Andriy Kozhemyakin said in parliament that all talks between the two factions and parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn have brought no results.

Opposition deputies have been trying to persuade the parliament to decriminalize the articles of the legal code used to sentence the country's leading opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

On December 8, Kyiv's Shevchenko district court held a hearing in Tymoshenko's jail cell and ruled that she must remain in detention while a new criminal case of embezzlement against her is being investigated.

Tymoshenko, who was prime minister in 2005 and from 2007 to 2010, was arrested in August and sentenced in October to seven years in prison for abuse of office in the signing of a gas deal with Russia during her premiership.

A second case against Tymoshenko was subsequently launched, this time related to her alleged corrupt involvement in the operations of Ukraine's United Energy Systems.

BYuT-Batkivshchyna deputy Andriy Pavlovskyy told RFE/RL that holding the hearing in Tymoshenko's cell is a violation of the law.

"They say there is no law prohibiting court hearings in detention centers, but the procedure of holding a trial is explicitly described in Ukraine's Criminal Procedure Code, which has to be followed," he said. "That will be our major point in the appeal."

Tymoshenko and her supporters say the charges against her are politically motivated and many European and U.S. officials have called for her case to be resolved and that she be released from jail.

Read more in Ukrainian here