The State of the Nation – Ukraine

Today was the day when the Ukrainian High Court rejected an appeal by the opposition leader on (widely assumed) false charges against her, made by her political rival. Yulia Tymoshenko was jailed nearly a year ago, for seven years ago for ‘abuse of office’.

There has been no judicial review, and jailing a former Prime Minister for accepting higher gas prices into Ukraine is completely wrong. Amnesty International said:

“The prosecution against Yuliya Timoshenko is politically-motivated. The charges against her are not internationally recognisable offences, they are attempts to criminalize decisions that she made in the course of her work.

“Poor political decisions of this kind – if that is what they were – should be punished by voters, not through courts. Her conviction on these charges is illegitimate and she should be immediately released.”

The charge against Tymoshenko is symbolic in the lack of an independent judiciary, like in Russia where the current Pussy Riot case was influenced in a huge part by the Orthodox Church (which is in no small part the government’s fault). However, the fact that Tymoshenko – a former world leader and legitimate political opposition to the current government is facing much less coverage for a show trial than a Punk band is for trumped up charges is a worrying indictment for Western media.

Good news though, the European Court of Human Rights has been considering her case.

Further Reading: Election Fraud concerns and The FT’s take on this.