Reinforced police squads cordon off Pechersk Kiev Court building

KIEV, August 8 (Itar-Tass) — Dozens of police buses with fighters of the Berkut special task force have lined up outside the building of the Pechersky Court in Khreshchatik Street and in adjacent streets. On Monday, the court is resuming hearings into the “gas case” the main defendant in which is Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. She is charged with abuse of authority by signing gas contracts with Russia in January 2009.

In all likelihood, Timoshenko has already been brought from the Lukyanovsky detention prison to court where two closed vehicles for the transportation of prisoners arrived early in the morning. Hearing into the case of ex-Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko is also scheduled at the Pechersky Court on Monday. The area of the court is blocked by the police, but the tent camp of Timoshenko supporters has not been liquidated. There are about a hundred supporters of Timoshenko and members of her parliament block there. A group of opponents of Timoshenko is nearby.

Timoshenko’s party Batkivshchina (Fatherland) and several other opposition parties urged their supporters to arrive in the morning to the court building. “We invite all not indifferent to come to the Pechersky Court in Khreshchatik in order to free Yulia Timoshenko and other political prisoners, to defend democracy and freedom, to stop the illegal turning of Ukraine into a totalitarian reservation in the heart of Europe,” Batkivshchina stressed in an appeal.

Overnight to Sunday, the Kiev Administrative Court banned mass protest actions outside the Pechersky Court and along the perimeter of Kreshchatik Street and Independence Square from 7 to 31 August, as well as in Degtyarevskaya Street near the Lukyanovsky detention centre. Representatives of Batkivshchina have stated that this decision has been suspended, and an appealed to it has been filed with a higher court. The ex-prime minister’s lawyer Yuri Sukhov has also filed with the Kiev Court of Appeal a complaint to the resolution of the Pechersky District Court, demanding to change the measure of restraint for Timoshenko from arrest to her own recognizance. More than 200 representatives of culture and science have put their signatures under a petition with the request to change the measure of restraint for Timoshenko and allow bail for her.

Meanwhile, deputy head of the Batkivshchina party Alexander Turchinov said on Sunday that a tent camp in Kiev put up by supporters of Ukraine’s ex-prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchina party Yulia Timoshenko, who was taken into custody late on Friday on office abuse charges, will not be pulled down. “I was assured that tents and people will not be touched,” said Timoshenko’s right hand, who leads the camp’s defence. Parliamentarians from the Timoshenko bloc who spent the night in the tent camp are being changed by their party fellows. Police cordoned off Kiev’s central street Kreshchatik and fenced entries to the building of the Pechersky District Court that is hearing the Timoshenko case.

Police explained that such measures are being taken to prevent protesters from entering the traffic way – on Monday – when the ex-prime minister will be convoyed to the court. Kiev’s district administrative court fulfilled the claim of the Kiev mayor office and banned mass actions in front of the Pechersky District Court that sanctioned to arrest Timoshenko and place her to the Lukyanovsky detention centre until August 31. Soon after this five buses with special task force groups were parked near the tent camp. Supporters of Timoshenko set up a camp of 30 tents overnight from Friday to Saturday.


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