Today Monday August 8, 2011, during the hearing of Yulia Tymoshenko’s criminal case, the Court dismissed an appeal from the former prime minister to release her from jail. Last Friday Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s top opposition leader and former prime minister, was arrested during her own trial following the judge’s decreed she was guilty of “systematically” disrupting proceedings. Yulia Tymoshenko was led from the courtroom and transferred to a detention centre under heavy police escort.

According to the judge there is no reason to change the decision regarding arrest because, in the appeal from Yulia Tymoshenko’s defense, there is no objective explanation in accordance with the Ukrainian law.  (more…)

Earlier today the news agency AFP and the KyivPost suggested that Yulia Tymoshenko, former prime minister of Ukraine and leader of the political bloc Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) might be arrested. This was not the case. She was released following the interrogation about corruption in connection with an agreement about gas.

This morning Yulia Tymoshenko was summoned to an interrogation. This was not the first time Ukrainian authorities called her in for questioning. She is being accused of mishandling of state funds and is placed under de facto house arrest since December 22, 2011. She has only been allowed to travel at a few occasions; including a trip to Brussels in March of this year.

The Prosecutor General’s Office in Ukraine today announced that Yulia Tymoshenkos request to lift a travel ban and to allow her to visit the City of Kharkiv to meet voters and party activists on May 17-18, has been turned down. This happens simultaneously with the release of a statement by Hryhoriy Nemyria, Deputy Head of Batkivshchyna Party and former Deputy Prime Minister in criticizing Ukraine’s political leadership for not honoring its commitments and obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe.

“The current administration must not and has no right to apply selectively criminal justice system to persecute political opponents and to impede the activities of the opposition” said Hryhoriy Nemyria. “It has no right to manipulate electoral laws, to restrain the freedom of assembly, to use the Security Service of Ukraine for intimidation of civil activists, and to establish executive control over the judiciary.” (more…)

After only one year in office Viktor Yanukovych’s administration has moved further down the path of authoritarianism than Leonid Kuchma did in a decade. If it continues, Ukraine – a country that during the presidency of Viktor Yuschenko was on its way to become a democratic and free society – might soon be ranked “not free” by Freedom House.

 Both administrations resorted to taking political prisoners. Under Kuchma, members of UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense) were imprisoned for their alleged involvement in the March 2001 riots. Under Yanukovych, the national prosecutor in Ukraine has opened a new case against Yulia Tymoshenko’s activity as prime minister. She is being accused of using funds raised from sales of carbon credits to pay for pensions during the financial crisis, and of buying ambulance vehicles for village doctors that, allegedly, do not suit the purpose; in fact the cars were intended as transport vehicles for doctors serving small villages, to get to patients. Both accusations are seemingly unjustified. (more…)

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) issued permission to the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko and leader of the Batkivshchina opposition party, to visit Brussels on March 23-25. Earlier, Tymoshenko repeatedly requested permission to travel to Brussels but was rejected the right to leave the country based on the recognizance not to leave. In Brussels Yulia Tymoshenko will attend a European People’s Party (EPP) summit.

Yulia Tymoshenko is under house arrest since December 22, 2010, accused of misappropriation of money received by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol – money for environmental programs. In addition, Yulia Tymoshenko is charged with embezzlement of state funds while procuring ambulances at inflated prices. She is threatened with a prison term of up to five years. The persecution of Tymoshenko is clearly aimed at removing her from politics prior to the September 2012 Parliamentary elections and the January 2015 presidential contest.

Read about the visit on CNBC

On May 7, 2010 the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged Spring School, i.e. a youth conference on ideology based on the book “Principles for a free society” by Dr. Nigel Ashford. The participants came from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Sweden. The conference took place on the island of Muskö in the Stockholm Archipelago.

Dr. Nigel Ashford spoke on the subject of freedom and democracy. Guest speakers from the Moderate Party ran sessions based on further chapters in Dr. Ashford’s book. Gustav Blix and Walburga Habsburg Douglas, both Members of Parliament from the Moderate Party, spoke with reference to globalization and the Eastern Partnership.

The participants were very engaged in the discussions – topics ranging from tolerance and human rights to free enterprise – and were also in charge of presentations of the political situation in their own countries. The participants agreed that they learned a lot from the classes at the conference, and expressed appreciation regarding the possibility to make friends with people from the other countries.