LONDON, UK – A court in Ukraine has adjourned a tax evasion trial against ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko until after the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, as pressure mounts on Kiev to drop the case against the opposition leader.
At a hearing in the northeastern city of Kharkiv Monday, Judge Kostyantyn Sandovsky postponed the case until July 10 at the request of state prosecutors and ordered a medical examination of Tymoshenko to ascertain whether she is fit to stand trial, Reuters reported.
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European leaders have condemned Ukraine’s treatment of Tymoshenko – who is already serving a seven-year jail term for abuse of power and is being treated for back problems in Kharkiv – as political persecution, and have refused to travel to Euro 2012 games being held in Ukraine. The competition’s final is to take place in Kiev on July 1, according to the BBC.
Tymoshenko did not attend Monday’s hearing, but several thousand people staged rival rallies outside the courthouse. Supporters chanted “freedom for Yulia,” while detractors poured scorn on her three-year term as prime minister between 2007-2010, shouting “the country suffered and she just kept talking,” the Agence France Presse reported.