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Tymoshenko's Lawyer Faces New Kidnapping Charge

Lawyer Serhyi Vlasenko (right) with Yulia Tymoshenko in 2011
Prosecutors in Ukraine have launched a new probe against Serhiy Vlasenko, the lawyer of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Vlasenko, who has already been charged with assaulting his ex-wife and faces up to two years in prison, told journalists on January 15 that he now faces a new charge of "unlawful imprisonment or kidnapping" of his former spouse.

The new charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.

The harsher accusations against Vlasenko came after a court on January 15 extended by two months a ban that prevents him from traveling beyond either the capital, Kyiv, or the eastern city of Kharkiv, where Tymoshenko is hospitalized under guard.

Vlasenko said on January 15 that the new charges are also politically motivated, as the authorities plan to place him under pretrial arrest.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and AFP