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Czech Government: Tymoshenko Husband Asylum Is Form Of Protection

Oleksandr Tymoshenko being interviewed at RFE/RL's Prague TV studio on January 9.
Oleksandr Tymoshenko being interviewed at RFE/RL's Prague TV studio on January 9.
Czech authorities say the husband of imprisoned Ukrainian ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko has received asylum in the European Union country as a form of "international protection."

Czech Interior Minister Jan Kubice announced on January 6 that Oleksandr Tymoshenko had "filed for political asylum" and that his request had been approved.

However, the Czech interior ministry told RFE/RL on January 12 that Kubice's formulation had been "inaccurate."

The ministry clarified in an e-mail message that Tymoshenko was granted asylum as a "form of international protection."

The Czech Embassy in Kyiv also issued a statement saying that the Czech Republic does not grant "political asylum."

The embassy said applications for asylum in the country may have "various reasons that do not have to be political and that the applicant does not have to be politically active."

Ukrainian officials have criticized the Czech decision, saying Tymoshenko received "political asylum" although he has never been politically active.

Oleksandr Tymoshenko owns a stake in a business registered in the Czech Republic.

His wife, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, was convicted last year and sentenced to seven years in jail for abuse of office while she was prime minister.

with agency reports
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