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Tymoshenko's Husband Says Draft Bill Not Enough

Former Ukraininan Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with her husband, Oleksandr, in 2010.
Former Ukraininan Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko with her husband, Oleksandr, in 2010.
The husband of Ukraine's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has criticized a draft bill that could allow his wife to travel abroad temporarily for medical treatment -- saying it doesn't go far enough.

The bill would require Tymoshenko to return to Ukraine after her treatment to continue serving her seven-year prison sentence on charges of abuse of power.

Oleksandr Tymoshenko told RFE/RL's Ukrainian service that his wife should at least be "partially pardoned" so she can receive treatment for her chronic back pain as a free woman.

"Yulia [Tymoshenko] should be able to travel abroad for treatment as a free person, as a Ukrainian citizen who enjoys all rights as a citizen," he said.

He indicated that the decision ultimately rests with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who is backed by a parliamentary majority that "supports whatever instruction Yanukovich gives them."

"[The authorities] want to make it as humiliating as possible for Yulia [Tymoshenko]," he said. "It is not an accident that lawmakers from the [ruling] Party of Regions are talking about an option in which the period of time spent abroad for medical treatment will not count as part of time served for her illegal jail term."

He made the remarks after a draft bill was submitted to parliament on October 18 that would clear the way for ailing prisoners to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The bill would apply to all convicted prisoners in Ukraine's prison system. It would empower a court to decide who is eligible for treatment abroad, as well as the terms and conditions for such releases.

Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Rybak said the draft bill would be discussed next week in parliament.

Yanukovych had said on October 17 that he would sign a bill that allows Tymoshenko to receive medical treatment in Germany "if parliament adopts it."

Tymoshenko was sentenced in 2011 on abuse of office charges that were widely seen as politically motivated.

The European Union has made resolving her case a condition for signing an association and free trade agreement with Ukraine.

Ukraine hopes to sign the agreement at a summit in Vilnius on November 28 and 29.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele and Tymoshenko's daughter, Yevhenia, have both said that they expect Tymoshenko will be allowed to go to Germany for treatment before the summit.

In a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, former European Parliament President Pat Cox and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski asked Yanukovych to pardon Tymoshenko.
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