Tymoshenko in court for release hearing

A Kiev district court opened a hearing Monday on a release petition filed on behalf of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko after her arrest three days ago.

She looked tired after her arrest but did not complain about conditions.

The release plea will be backed by Ukrainian human right ombudsman Nina Karpacheva, her spokesman said.

Tymoshenko was detained on Friday following a motion by prosecutors who accused her of repeatedly disrupting courtroom proceedings during her trial on abuse of office charges.

Ukraine’s opposition forces have called for her release and Western countries have expressed concern over her arrest.

Tymoshenko, accused of hurting Ukraine’s national interests by signing “unfair” gas supply deals with Russia as prime minister, faces up to 10 years in prison.

Currently Ukraine’s leading opposition figure, she has denied all charges and pointedly ignored courtroom procedures by refusing to stand up when addressing the judge.

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