Walburga Habsburg Douglas, MP representing the Moderate party and Deputy Chairman of the OSCE:s parliamentary assembly was refused on Monday to visit the Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko in prison. Both the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and the Prisons Authority rejected the application for a visit.
“Ukraine must offer transparency immediately and allow the international community to visit Yulia Tymoshenko in prison and see first-hand the conditions in which she is being kept. Ukrainian diplomats and parliamentarians have offered numerous accounts of how ‘comfortable’ the conditions are in Kharkiv for the former prime minister, harping on the fact that she has comforts of home, like a washing machine” said Walburga Habsburg adding that “the fact is that these messages are no substitute for in-person visits.If the government has a story to tell about the conditions in Ms. Tymoshenko’s cell, then authorities should allow international visitors at once.”
“By focusing the discussion on the prison, the Ukrainian foreign ministry has tried to divert attention from the larger issues related to rule of law and political prosecution,” stated Walburga Habsburg.