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Tymoshenko trial delayed because of health

April 28, 2012 at 9:48 AM   |   Comments

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KHARKOV, Ukraine, April 28 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian court Saturday postponed until May 21 the tax evasion trial of ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko because of her poor health.

A spokeswoman for Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna party said Kharkov's District Court postponed the trial and "the prosecutor's office supports the suspension of the case...to draw conclusions about Tymoshenko's health," RIA Novosti reported.

Tymoshenko, who is on a hunger strike, alleged Tuesday she had been beaten unconscious in prison last week, but a prosecutor said his office investigated and found no evidence to support her claim, CNN reported.

RIA Novosti said Tymoshenko is suffering severe back pain and cannot walk. Ukrainian authorities have authorized her to receive treatment at a hospital outside the prison but she has refused, the news agency said.

Doctors from the German clinic Charite examined Tymoshenko Friday and diagnosed "an acute form of herniation of intervertebral disks."

Tymoshenko's defense said her health has declined in prison and she cannot get out of bed by herself.

Several thousand of her supporters and opponents gathered near the courthouse before the session.

Tymoshenko, who served as prime minister from December 2007-March 2010, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October for abuse of office in the 2009 signing of Russian gas contracts.

Her conviction has been condemned as politically motivated by the United States, Russia, the European Union and human rights groups.

Tymoshenko, who lost an election to Viktor Yanukovych in 2010, has denied wrongdoing and claims the charges are politically motivated.

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