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Tymoshenko Ends Hunger Strike

Tymoshenko Ends Hunger Strike

Yulia Tymoshenko, the imprisoned former prime minister of Ukraine, began her hunger strike on April 20 in the eastern city of Kharkiv. The strike began as a protest against the brutal treatment she received in prison, reporting that she had been coerced into medical treatment for a spinal injury and bruised by prison guards. Surprising photos of the pallid Tymoshenko, with bruises on her arm and torso, flooded the internet in conjunction with the beginning of the strike.

This Tuesday, Tymoshenko’s daughter, Yevgenia, announced that the imprisoned politician would end her hunger strike under the care of a German physician, Lutz Harms, according to the National Post. This news comes only a couple days after Tymoshenko had insisted she would continue the hunger strike regardless of the consequences, spurring on fears for the former prime minister’s life.

Other European powers have taken a strong stance on the treatment of the politician in recent weeks, most prominently German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She has stated she will not attend any of the German matches set to take place in Ukraine during the Euro Cup 2012 events this coming summer, unless proper care is provided for Tymoshenko.

Some of the most prominent leaders in the eurozone have joined Merkel in her boycotting of the events, including Czech President Vaclav Klaus and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, according to the Budapest Times. The sporting events were originally intended to herald in an era of greater inclusion of Ukraine within the European Union.

Tymoshenko’s determined stance has complicated that original hope and put Ukraine in the spotlight for general incursions on democratic processes and human rights issues. Tymoshenko was originally imprisoned for abuse of power after signing a deal with Russia for gas rights. She is also facing charges of tax evasion, a trial which was delayed on April 28 in the wake of the fallen leader’s failing health.

The tax evasion charges could bring another 12 years onto her current seven year sentence. Tymoshenko stands firm that her current conviction and treatment in prison are directly related to a plot of revenge directed by the presiding president, Viktor Yanukovych, a long-time political rival. According to the BBC, Yanukovich had originally been elected through a rigged election, but had fairly won his current seat in 2010 in a fresh election against Tymoshenko.

While Tymoshenko’s hunger strike has not helped Ukraine’s position within the European Union, it has certainly put the country on the map for social unrest and general demands for democratic processes. Russia has faced equal scrutiny in the current political climate as protesters retaliated against the inauguration of Vladimir Putin for his third presidential term over the weekend.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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9 comments

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4:32PM PDT on May 9, 2012

And Will R. makes these broad sweeping accusations based on what, personal experience? Or the knowledge that, say, anyone, anywhere with the name Will is prone to generalizations that, were they applied based on skin color instead of career choice, would be called racism?
Critical thinking has left the planet.

8:55AM PDT on May 9, 2012

I admire her courage in choosing not to eat, that speak volumes about her commitment to her beliefs. Having worked in the corporate world the crooks I worked with could not or would go on a hunger strike, why you ask? Because
Most of them are sociopaths and can and do harm others, their only concern is their well being and any commitment to a cause is beyond their comprehension.

8:12AM PDT on May 9, 2012

i'm glad she's ending her hungr strike, for her own sake. I'm also glad that other politicans have spoken out on her behalf.

6:39AM PDT on May 9, 2012

If she has been on a hunger strike since April 20, that means no or very little food and water for almost a month. That does not say she is a criminal. That says she is a very principled woman who continues to speak out the only way she can--even though she is being beaten.
Do not ever underestimate any woman, especially because of her hair color. I hope someone in that area of the world will keep us all updated on this situation. It's not always the case that we see a politician that cares that deeply about improving the peoples' situation that she risks her own life.

5:16AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thank you for the article...

4:30AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Like all politicians, she is a crook and not deserving of our sympathy, her ambition was power, power to rule over us, and now she has been caught is using all her skills as a politician to manipulate the situation. She is a seasoned politician who knows exactly why and what she's doing, and no doubt will come out on top, shit always floats to the top of the cesspool (politics)
So now her health is bad? Let her out and she'll be doing cartwheels! Just because she's blonde and a woman we look at her like as if she isn't a crook. If this was a man, would we even be bothered? Why aren't we trying to free those whingeing male politicians everywhere who are also complaining of torture (they all moan) tymoshenko looks nice, but that means nothing! We have about 500 thieving politicians here in England, some stole more and some less, but they're all thieves and I wish they were in prison too! If she had starved herself to death, would the world have missed her? Would this be a worse place without her? That she has given up her hunger strike shows her up as a fraud, she isn't really that committed. It's like a tantrumming child holding their breath till they turn blue and you give in. She is what psychologists would term as a 'spoilt brat'.

3:40AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Thanks for update. The whole thing has not been on News channels in UK, ???! When put with the whole of revolving Putin, Georgia/Russia it is worthy of keeping up to date. It showing that really Eastern Europe ends at the Eastern borders of Poland.

Not much changes then! That why that border has always been walked over backwards and forwards by ambitious rulers. Stay strong Poland, apart from not signing to less use of coal you are doing well since the communists went eastwards.

9:45PM PDT on May 8, 2012

Thanks.

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