Yanukovich has nothing to do with Timoshenko arrest – press secretary

KIEV, August 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has nothing to do with the arrest of ex-Prime Minister, Batkivshchyna party leader Yulia Timoshenko and does not interfere in the activity of the judiciary, presidential press secretary Darya Chepak said.

“The president said many times that his administration had nothing to do with the [Timoshenko] trial and had no right to interfere in the activity of the judiciary by constitution,” she said.

The Kiev Pechersky District Court hearing the Timoshenko case recessed until August 8.

On Friday the court authorized the custody of Timoshenko. She is accused of the illegal signing of gas contracts with Russia in 2009. The Prosecutor General’s Office said that Timoshenko abused of office and caused more than 1.5 billion hryvni (about $200 million) damage to Ukraine.

Ukraine cannot secede from gas agreements with Russia signed by Yulia Timoshenko, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov told the court, as he was giving testimony in the Timoshenko case.

“When I read that agreement I could not believe it had been approved by the government. The terms of that document make unilateral secession practically impossible,” he said.

The penalty for taking less gas than contracted “is harmful for the national economy,” and the pricing formula set for the period of ten years is unprofitable, Azarov said.

“The agreement betrayed the country and caused an increase of public utility charges,” he concluded.

Prosecutor Lilia Frolova insisted on the arrest of Timoshenko. She said the defendant was impeding court procedures.

“The judge said many times that it was necessary for the defendant to abide by the court procedures. She did not react to criticism but abused her rights and verbally insulted parties to the trial and the presiding judge. That is a ground for incarceration,” the prosecutor said.

The court considered a similar demand of the prosecutor on July 27 but said it was still possible to change the behavior of Timoshenko.

As soon as Presiding Judge Rodion Kireyev made the decision, two Spetsnaz units entered the courtroom to block parliament deputies seeking access to Timoshenko. The units convoyed her out of the room. Timoshenko asked for not being handcuffed and the police met her request.

A city police source said later that Timoshenko was taken to the Lukyanovskoye detention center.

Lawyer Yuri Sukhov visited the detention center to bring personal care items and bed linen to Timoshenko.

He said the defense would appeal the arrest. “I hope very much that the appeals court will cancel this ruling,” the lawyer said. He also hopes that the appeal will be considered before the end of next week.

Timoshenko was put into the same cell she occupied in her previous arrest in 2000, a source at the detention center said. She stays in recently renovated cell 242 with a toilet and windows. There are no windows in many of the other cells. This is a cell for two, but Timoshenko occupies it alone so far.

Following the arrest of its leader, the Batkivshchyna party called for mass protests. “We are starting mobilization,” the party’s second in command Alexander Turchinov said.

If the protests turn massive, Ukraine may have new authorities already in September, he said. “We have plenty of sympathizers, but few are prepared to fight. We start our fight today,” he added.

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