Tymoshenko Supporters Greet New Year Outside Hospital

KIEV, January 1 (RIA Novosti) – Over a hundred supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former prime minister, ushered in the New Year outside the hospital where she is undergoing treatment, the party press service confirmed Tuesday.

“Despite the political persecution by the current regime, which has imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko, we really had a magical celebration. Locals put a tree up outside the hospital, decorated it, and lit sparklers at midnight,” the local Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party press spokesperson said.

She added that the participants hoped that Tymoshenko will have been freed by this time next year.

Tymoshenko is serving out a seven-year sentence for abuse of office over a 2009 gas deal with Russia. Critics view the sentence as politically motivated.

Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party came second in the country’s October 2012 parliamentary elections, losing to the ruling Party of Regions.

International election observers criticized what they called the abuse of administrative resources, a lack of media freedom during the campaign season, and the opaque campaign finances of the Party of Regions.

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