Wilfried Martens, President of the European People’s Party, requested permission from the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv to visit Yulia Tymoshenko in jail during his visit to Ukraine on September 13-16. The request was rejected by Judge Rodion Kireyev of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv. According to the Court, Wilfried Martens did not provide sufficient cause for such a meeting. Instead, the EPP president met with Yulia Tymoshenko’s daughter Eugenia Tymoshenko and later with President Viktor Yanukovych.
“It was a frank discussion and I explained to him [President Viktor Yanukovych] the EPP position on Ukraine” – Wilfried Martens commented on his Twitter account.
Recently the judge presiding over former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s trial unexpectedly had the court adjourned until September 27, due to pressure from the United States and the European Union.
The judge’s handling of the trial has resulted in criticism from Yulia Tymoshenko’s supporters. In addition, her lawyers claim the hasty conduct of the trial denied them sufficient time to prepare the case. The lawyers also urged the Court to change the measures of restraint imposed on Yulia Tymoshenko and to release her from custody.
The trial was due to enter its final stage on Monday, September 12, with the prosecutor and Yulia Tymoshenko’s team presenting their closing arguments. Yulia Tymoshenko has previously said that she expected a verdict to be passed this week.
“[The decision to postpone the trial] demonstrates that the case has fallen apart,” Tymoshenko said in court on Monday.
It is worth noting that Yulia Tymoshenko is one of about 400 former officials under investigation for crimes allegedly committed under Tymoshenko’s reign. Critics say the only people tried were political opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Yulia Tymoshenko is expected to be the main oppositional candidate in next year’s parliamentary election. If convicted, she will, however, not be eligible to run.
Some experts suppose that the trial may have been postponed in order to avoid embarrassment prior to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s trip to the UN General Assembly next week.