- Title: UKRAINE: Former PM Tymoshenko's supporters and opponents rally outside court
- Date: 26th June 2011
- Summary: PEOPLE AT COURT WAITING COURT HEARING IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, YULIA TYMOSHENKO, SAYING: "Frame-up trials against me are taking place uninterrupted, they are to last till the next parliament elections to prevent me from participating in politics and from helping people." TYMOSHENKO'S SUPPORTERS CLAPPING HANDS AND CHANTING "DISGRACE" IN U+0421OURT HEARING IN PROGRESS JUDGE TALKING TO TYMOSHENKO TYMOSHENKO LEAFING THROUGH DOCUMENTS TYMOSHENKO'S HANDS WITH PAPERS JUDGE LEAVING HEARING
- Embargoed: 11th July 2011 13:00
- Location: Ukraine, Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA1NEV51P6YCBEPN4TXEFF7JX6E
- Story Text: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing over charges of abuse on power on Saturday (June 25) as hundreds of people massed in support of her in the capital's city centre.
While her supporters braved torrential rain on the streets of Kiev to express their solidarity, some opponents of hers chanted anti-Tymoshenko slogans, demanding she be sent to jail.
Tymoshenko clashed angrily with the judge at a pre-trial hearing, denouncing the court action as political manoeuvring aimed at wiping out the opposition in Ukraine.
The 50-year-old political firebrand, who faces charges of abuse of power during her time as prime minister, curtly refused to stand to address the court and alleged the hearing was part of a wider political plot.
"Frame-up trials against me are taking place uninterrupted, they are to last till the next parliament elections to prevent me from participating in politics and from helping people," she said.
Tymoshenko, twice prime minister and now in opposition, alleged on Friday (June 24) that President Viktor Yanukovich, her bitter political foe, was behind a crooked court action that was certain to convict her.
Although Western governments have not come down publicly on her side, visiting EU politicians have told the Yanukovich leadership they are concerned over the possible use of "selective justice" in Ukraine.
The hearing should decide whether to send Tymoshenko for trial for abuse of power over the signing of a 2009 gas supply agreement with Russia.
If convicted, she could face a prison term of 7-10 years.
The gas supply agreement ended a stand-off between Russia and its ex-Soviet neighbour over the pricing of Russian gas which had led to supplies being cut off to Western Europe. It has since been denounced by the Yanukovich leadership as a sell-out, although Kiev is continuing to observe it.
The prosecution alleges that Tymoshenko, without consulting her government, forced the then-head of state energy firm Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia's Gazprom. She denies this.
Tymoshenko became known as the "gas princess" in the late 1990s as owner of a company which bought and sold Russian gas.
With her trademark peasant-style hair braid, she became an international figure in 2004 when she led the "Orange Revolution" street demonstrations that ultimately doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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