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Kiev to look into Tymoshenko abuse claims

April 26, 2012 at 10:43 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, April 26 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych ordered his prosecutor general to investigate claims the former prime minister was roughed up in prison.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence at a penal colony in Ukraine after being convicted on charges she abused her authority when she helped broker a 2009 gas deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

Yevgenia Tymoshenko, daughter of the jailed leader, said the former prime minister has several large bruises on her body, including fingerprint bruises on her arm and a 4-inch bruise on her abdomen, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports.

"I gave an errand, within the scope of my powers, to the prosecutor general's office to investigate this question (of abuse)," Yanukovych was quoted by the Ukrainian News Agency as saying.

Tymoshenko announced last week she was staging a hunger strike to protest the government and her treatment in prison. She's apparently bed-ridden because of a back ailment, though prison authorities had said she refused medical treatment.

Her supporters say the charges against her are politically motivated. She lost to Yanukovych in a 2010 election.

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