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Tymoshenko loses appeal

Tymoshenko loses appeal
An appeals court in Kiev ruled that former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko must remain in prison for abusing her authority in 2009. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

KIEV, Ukraine, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- An appeals court in Kiev ruled that former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko must remain in prison for abusing her authority in 2009.

Tymoshenko was sentenced in October to seven years in prison after her conviction on charges she abused her authority when, while prime minister in 2009, she helped broker a natural gas deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

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She denies the charges and Western supporters say the sentence was politically motivated on the part of the pro-Kremlin government.

Her Web site notes the appeals court made the decision in her absence, though it was reported authorities threatened to drag her to court. She's allegedly bed-ridden in her jail cell apparently for back problems, the BBC reports.

European leaders expressed grave concern over her sentencing. A bilateral meeting is set for next week.

Clashes erupted between members of Parliament, her supporters and Ukrainian police outside the courtroom, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

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