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U.S. Calls For Ukraine To Release Opposition Leaders

Yulia Tymoshenko supporters rally at the hospital in Kharkiv, where she was transferred for medical treatment by a German physician, on May 16.
The United States has urged Ukraine to free imprisoned opposition leaders and allow them to run in the October 28 parliamentary elections.

Speaking to reporters and representatives from rights groups in Kyiv, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Thomas Melia voiced concerns about “selective, politically-motivated prosecutions on multiple occasions."

The case of Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of office while she was prime minister and facing additional charges, has drawn international outrage.

Earlier on May 16 in Brussels, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said the EU could send experts to assess both Tymoshenko’s medical state and the legal process that led to her conviction.

Tymoshenko is currently being treated at a hospital in Kharkiv to recover from a recent hunger strike and a back condition. She has complained of abuse and shown bruising she says came at the hands of prison guards.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax