Ukraine court hears Tymoshenko appeal
KIEV (Reuters) - Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday sought to have her conviction for alleged abuse-of-office overturned even as authorities readied other serious charges against her.
A high court in Kiev was hearing her appeal against conviction and seven-year jail sentence imposed last year on charges of selling out the national interest as prime minister by signing a disadvantageous gas deal with Russia.
The trial and her conviction caused outrage among Western governments which say it smacked of "selective justice" and has derailed the former Soviet republic's relations with the European Union.
The 27-member bloc has shelved agreements on free trade and political association in response and a number of European politicians have boycotted Euro 2012 matches being played in Ukraine, which is co-host of the soccer tournament.
So far, pressure from the EU has had no effect.
President Viktor Yanukovich, Tymoshenko's political foe, has said he will not intervene before all the trials and appeals are over while Ukrainian prosecutors have heaped fresh charges on her, saying they suspected Tymoshenko of involvement in a 1996 contract killing.
Tymoshenko's legal counsel showed little optimism ahead of Tuesday's hearing.
"There can be no justice for Tymoshenko, so all the hopes of Tymoshenko's defense lie beyond Ukraine's borders," said Serhiy Vlasenko, Tymoshenko's lawyer, meaning only Western pressure could bring about her release.
On Monday, a court in the city of Kharkiv adjourned further hearings into a separate tax evasion case until July 10 at the request of state prosecutors. The court ordered a medical examination of Tymoshenko, 51, in order to establish whether she is fit to attend her trial. Continued...