Ex-PM Tymoshenko arrested for “bad behavior”

A judge from the Pechersky District Court in Kiev has ruled to arrest Ukraine’s former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is on trial on charges of abuse of power while in office.

Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reports that the “Gryphon” court police and the Berkut special subdivision removed former Tymoshenko from the courtroom. She asked the police not to handcuff her until she had left the room.

Judge Rodion Kireyev said that since Tymoshenko is being accused of a grave crime which is punishable by up to seven years in jail, “she might attempt to avoid trial and other legal procedures”. Therefore, the judge decided to order her arrest, changing his original ruling that had allowed Tymoshenko to stay out of jail for the duration of her trial upon signing a written oath not to leave the country.

Kireyev also pointed out that Tymoshenko was being disrespectful to the members of the court and those participating in the trial by disobeying the orders of the trial chairman, refusing to tell the court the address her permanent address, and “systematically disrupting the court hearings.”

Meanwhile, around 15 deputies attempted to block the movement of a paddy wagon that was supposed to deliver the former premier, now the opposition leader, to the investigative isolation ward. First deputy chair of Yulia Tymoshenko’s political bloc “Batkivschyna” (Fatherland) Aleksandr Turchinov, called on the people who gathered on Kiev’s central Kreschatik street, not far from the court, to unite in order to oppose the authorities.

Tymoshenko is no stranger to criminal charges. The current case is the third court proceeding launched against her in Ukraine. The first case dealt with the embezzlement of funds acquired from the selling of carbon emission quotas to bankroll pension payments, while the second was connected with the purchase of a batch of ambulances at inflated prices.The third set of accusations pertain to the purchase of gas and subsequent transit agreements between Ukraine and Russia that Tymoshenko signed as prime minister in 2009. Prosecutors accuse the former PM of abuse of power, which they claim damaged Ukraine’s financial interests.

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