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Italy seeks meeting with Tymoshenko

May 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM
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ROME, May 11 (UPI) -- Italy has asked Ukraine for permission for a senior Italian official to visit ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in a Ukraine hospital.

An Italian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday Italy's ambassador in Kiev has asked Ukrainian authorities for a meeting between Italian Foreign Undersecretary Marta Dassu and Tymoshenko, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Tymoshenko, who had been on a hunger strike in a Kharkov prison, was moved to a hospital in the eastern Ukraine city Wednesday for treatment of back pains.

Italy expressed concerns this week over human rights in Ukraine, particularly in the Tymoshenko case, when the Ukrainian ambassador to Rome was called to the Italian Foreign Ministry, the ministry spokesman said.

Tymoshenko, who served as prime minister from December 2007 to 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.

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