Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed the United States’ deep concern over the treatment of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other imprisoned individuals who served in her government.
Ms. Tymoshenko is serving a seven year sentence in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, after being convicted of abuse of power in 2011 for signing a natural gas agreement with Russia in 2009. At the conclusion of her trial, the U.S. expressed deep disappointment with her conviction and sentencing through what the White House in a statement called a “politically motivated prosecution.”
In April, Ms. Tymoshenko started a hunger strike after complaining that she was beaten in detention. Photographs appearing to show bruises on her body have been published. Secretary of State Clinton said in her statement, “The photographs of Mrs. Tymoshenko released by the Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudsman further call into question the conditions of her confinement.”
Secretary of State Clinton urged the Ukrainian authorities “to ensure that Mrs. Tymoshenko receives immediate medical assistance in an appropriate facility and request that the U.S. ambassador be given access to her.” Secretary Clinton said that the U.S. “continue[s] to call for her release, the release of other members of her former government, and the restoration of their full civil and political rights.”
The United States has repeatedly raised concerns about Ukraine’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and the appearance of politically motivated prosecutions of opposition figures. As Ukraine prepares to assume the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, in 2013, Ukraine can lead by example by demonstrating its commitment to the Helsinki principles on democracy and good governance.