Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who was imprisoned last month, called on the European Union to sign an agreement strengthening ties with the former Soviet state to help it “abolish authoritarianism.”
“To begin to recover our liberty, we urgently need the assistance of the world’s democratic community,” the former prime minister wrote from prison today in a letter addressed to EU nations, parliaments, and leaders. “Such urgent assistance would be signing the Association and Free Trade Agreements between Ukraine and the European Union.”
Tymoshenko was sentenced on Oct. 11 to seven years in prison for abuse of power after she signed a 2009 gas-supply and transit agreement with Russia as premier. The verdict may have “profound implications” for Ukraine’s relations with the EU, the European Commission said at the time, calling for her release. The U.S. and Russia also condemned the court ruling.
Tymoshenko denies any wrongdoing, saying President Viktor Yanukovych engineered the trial to silence opposition before 2012 parliamentary elections. While she said the fate of the pact, which was due to be signed by year-end, depends on her release, “my personal freedom and the freedom of all other political prisoners is worth sacrificing.”
--Editors: Andrew Langley, Alan Crosby
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