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Ukraine Court Will Not Drop New Tymoshenko Case

Supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko protest outside the court in Kharkiv on April 19.
A Ukrainian court says it will pursue a new criminal case against jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

Judge Kostyantyn Sadovskyy said at a brief session on April 20 that "at this moment, there is no reason to close the case."

The new trial began on April 19 and the next hearing was scheduled for April 28.

Tymoshenko is accused of tax evasion and attempted theft while heading a gas-trading company in 1997-98.

Tymoshenko, who denies any wrongdoing, has refused to attend the trial, citing poor health.

Tymoshenko was already convicted in October 2011 of abuse of office and sentenced to seven years in prison.

She says she is a victim of politically motivated repression by the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko's imprisonment has soured Ukraine's ties with the European Union.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service