' />

Ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko criticises 'authoritarian' Govt and justice system

Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister who is now on trial for abusing high office, has sent a stark warning to President Viktor Yanukovych, saying it is just a matter of time before the country is hit by another revolution.

The heroine of Ukraine's Orange Revolution said the regime is destined to collapse.

"History has shown us that authoritarian regimes do not endure and I believe that the values of the Orange Revolution are as relevant today as they were in December 2004," said Tymoshenko, writing from her prison cell. "Sooner or later the oppressed people of this nation will arise."

Advertisement

Tymoshenko is charged with abusing her authority as Prime Minister when negotiating gas prices with Russia in January 2009 and of misspending state funds. She was on bail, but earlier this month the judge jailed her for repeated contempt of court.

She refuses to stand when the judge enters, she says, as she does not recognise the court's legitimacy. The judge has repeatedly broken Ukrainian and international law, she says, and has refused to give her lawyers adequate time to study paperwork related to the case.

She says the hardest part of being locked up is that she is no longer able to use Twitter.

"Conditions are spartan and it is never pleasant to have your liberty taken from you but I will not complain about my lot," Tymoshenko wrote of her imprisonment.

"The judge has created chaos, and within that chaos we don't know what he's going to do next," said Serhiy Vlasenko, Tymoshenko's head counsel. "One thing that seems certain is that the verdict has been pre-decided from above."

Vlasenko is banned from the trial for disrespecting the judge. He complained that of 30 witnesses the defence asked to call, the judge approved just two. Vlasenko said prior to her arrest, Tymoshenko gave him a note. "I will never end my life with suicide," the note said, referencing two cases of Ukrainian figures who died in suspicious circumstances but were ruled as suicides.

Tymoshenko says the trial, which could see her jailed for 10 years, is a bid to bar her from future elections.

"It must seem strange to everyone that if I am convicted on trumped-up charges, I will be banned from standing for election, but Viktor Yanukovych, a twice-convicted violent felon, was and remains able to run for election," wrote Tymoshenko.

Advertisement

Yanukovych last week refused to intervene in the case, saying it would be improper. He denied that any of the cases against Tymoshenko and her former ministers were politically motivated.

- INDEPENDENT