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Tymoshenko’s Hunger Strike Stirs German Response

Tymoshenko’s Hunger Strike Stirs German Response

Photos of an emaciated Yulia Tymoshenko, the imprisoned former prime minister of Ukraine, emerged on the internet last week. The graphic images portrayed a weak, supine Tymoshenko as she displayed bruises on her arm and abdomen.

The photos were released a week after the former PM began a hunger strike in protest to alleged prison abuse and forced clinical treatment for a spinal injury, in which guards pushed, shoved and twisted her limbs in order to force her into a treatment clinic.

Now reactions are beginning to filter in regarding Tymoshenko’s strike and the photos of her bruises. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, plans to boycott the Euro 2012 football matches taking place in Ukraine this summer in response to the brutal treatment of the Orange Revolution leader, unless she is released from custody.

Merkel has urged other leading European officials to boycott the games as well. Her response came on the heels of a plea made to the German government by Tymoshenko’s daughter, Eugenia, according to The Guardian. Some officials have already confirmed that they will avoid the games. European Union Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, confirmed she would not attend the games.

It is unclear how supportive Tymoshenko remains of Merkel’s announcement. The Euro 2012 games would help solidify Ukraine’s place on the European map and keep local governmental tensions and corruptions at the front of global headlines, both central goals for Tymoshenko since her rise to international fame in 2004.

Ukraine’s prison service has also reacted to the vivid photographs and Tymoshenko’s pleas for help, arguing that unexplained bruises have appeared on her body before, and that force was necessary in getting her the correct medical treatment.

Force was used in attempting to make Tymoshenko receive treatment for an alleged spinal injury that has prevented Tymoshenko from showing up to a tax evasion trial that could add another five years onto her current seven year sentence. She was convicted of overstepping her capacity as prime minister last year after signing a gas deal with Russia.

Currently, Tymoshenko is awaiting trial for tax evasion. The judge has adjourned the trial until May 21 in the wake of Tymoshenko’s failing health and inability to appear for the hearing. Protestors have been gathering outside of the district court building and many of these activists feel a sense of justice that her trial has been suspended and that authorities have been forced to admit the failing health of the controversial figure.

It remains to be seen how the new scandal surrounding Tymoshenko will affect the Euro 2012 championship events. Regardless, Tymoshenko refuses to be treated in Ukraine for the forseeable future and Ukrainian officials have refused to let her receive proposed treatment in Germany.

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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40 comments

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9:42PM PDT on May 9, 2012

Wasn't the whole thing of her arrest not a set-up?

12:31PM PDT on May 4, 2012

It's good to see that some keep their fingers off the key board when they know little or nothing of what is going on in Ukraine. Bruises, those aren't bruises. She's lucky to be alive for what she's done to the people of Ukraine. Poor emaciated Yulia, doesn't your hair fall out when you're emaciated? You North American Fat Asses think Oprah is emaciated.

Imagine Obama as President of the US, also was the head of the only company that supplied gas and oil to the population of the US. He buys it from Russia at one price and sells to you at a much higher price, even more to the point you don't drive nor heat your house as an average consumer. Also imagine that the US receives billions of dollars from the IMF that never makes it past your leader.

As Head she bought $405.5 million dollars of Gas from Russia, sold it to the the people of Ukraine but never paid Russia. She's lucky to be in a Ukrainian Jail and not in hiding from the Russian Mafia.

The Ukraine Health system is good enough for the people but not for her, that's rich.

11:33AM PDT on May 4, 2012

Philip A. There was nothing poliitical about it but her own interest (read: she put millions of $$ on her personal accounts after signing that deal). And that was not her the only crime but the only that was proven. She put Ukraine into billions dollar debt following her own interests. In other words she is just a banal thief who uses politics to cover her ass.

7:58AM PDT on May 3, 2012

Elena, she is in prison for supposedly overstepping her authority as Prime Minister by signing a gas deal with Russia. How the hell is that not political?

6:02AM PDT on May 3, 2012

Thanks for the article.

6:01AM PDT on May 3, 2012

Thanks for the article.

3:25PM PDT on May 2, 2012

Ira L."Storm the prison and free her!" Are you kidding?
She's convicted for economic crimes. It has nothing to do with politics.

10:59AM PDT on May 2, 2012

How do people worldwide just sit by and ALLOW things like this to happen? What would they want IF it was happening to them or their families? That's why the abuse continues - people remain silent and the abusers know they can get away with it.
Despicable!! Storm the prison and free her!

10:56AM PDT on May 2, 2012

How do people worldwide just sit by and ALLOW things like this to happen? What would they want IF it was happening to them or their families? That's why the abuse continues - people remain silent and the abusers know they can get away with it.
Despicable!! Storm the prison and free her!

5:50AM PDT on May 2, 2012

"Ukraine’s prison service has also reacted to the vivid photographs and Tymoshenko’s pleas for help, arguing that unexplained bruises have appeared on her body before, and that force was necessary in getting her the correct medical treatment."

Right.

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