Ukraine's Tymoshenko refuses to attend opening of new trial

April 18, 2012 16:57


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KIEV - A new trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, already serving a seven-year prison term on abuse-of-office charges, is set to open in her absence this week after the opposition leader refused to attend it citing poor health.

The jailing last October of Tymoshenko, the fiercest foe of President Viktor Yanukovich, has soured Ukraine's ties with the European Union and the United States, which saw the case as an example of "selective justice."

Despite Western pressure for her release, Ukrainian prosecutors have charged her with tax evasion and are also investigating what they say is her possible involvement in the 1996 contract killing of an influential businessman and parliament deputy.

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