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Ukrainian Judge Refuses To Free Tymoshenko From Custody

Ukrainian security personnel block supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko during a protest rally outside the court in Kyiv on August 8.
A judge has rejected a request by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's lawyers to free her from police detention.

The judge today threw out two motions to reverse Tymoshenko's detention, including an unusual request backed by the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to put her under clerical supervision.

Her lawyer has filed a third motion to have the former Prime Minister released under the supervision of more than 200 culture luminaries, lawmakers and other prominent Ukrainians.

The hearings resumed today as thousands of supporters rallied outside the Kyiv courtroom where Tymoshenko is on trial on charges of abuse of power over gas deals she signed with Russia in 2009.

She was placed in police detention on August 5 for contempt of court after refusing to cooperate with the judge and denouncing him as a "puppet" of President Viktor Yanukovych, her political opponent.

The United States and the European Union have criticized her detention.

compiled from agency reports