Yulia Tymoshenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister jailed for seven years for abuse of power, is refusing to
work or wear the prison uniform, according to news reports.
RIA Novosti news agency cited a letter sent by Tymoshenko to prison officials as saying: "I refuse to comply with all prison regulations, including obligatory work, because I already have a job, I'm the chairman of the Batkyvshchina party. I also refuse to wear a prison robe."
Inmates at the prison in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-biggest city, must wear blue prison robes while working at the jail's garment factory.
Tymoshenko's supporters have reportedly already said that the former leader is unable to walk because of back problems, and therefore cannot work.
However, in February, Ria Novosti cited a State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine statement as saying that Tymoshenko refused to undergo a health examination by three Canadian, two German and six Ukrainian doctors on the basis there were Ukrainian specialists in the group.
Tymoshenko was sentenced in October after being found guilty of overreaching her authority in signing gas contracts with Russia that favored that country in 2009.
(GlobalPost reports: Tymoshenko jailed for seven years)
According to the Associated Press, she maintains her innocence and charges that President Viktor Yanukovych ordered her imprisonment in order to bar her from elections.
This week, Tymoshenko's' daughter, Evgeniya, used the occasion of International Women’s Day to demand a meeting with Yanukovych in an attempt to get her mother released from prison.
Euronews quoted Evgeniya Tymoshenko as saying: "We are asking President Yanukovych to meet us and to discuss the situation. We want to talk about political repression and understand what actions he intends to take as the protector of the constitution."