Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian authorities moved opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to a penal colony a week after a court upheld her seven-year prison term for signing a gas contract with Russia in 2009.
Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, was sent to a colony in the Kharkiv region in eastern Ukraine at 8 a.m. today, according to a statement published on the Penitentiary Service’s website.
Tymoshenko, 51, was convicted on Oct. 11 of abusing her authorities as prime minister when signing an agreement on the import and transit of natural gas from Russia in 2009. The verdict prompted the European Union to indefinitely delay the signing of an Association Agreement with the eastern European nation. The U.S. and Russia have joined the 27-member bloc in condemning the court’s ruling.
“Neither members of her family nor her defense team were informed about the transfer,” said Hryhoriy Nemyrya, a former deputy prime minister and Tymoshenko’s ally. She was shipped to the colony “despite the grave state of her health and the fact that she was kept in a medical ward,” Nemyrya said in an e- mailed statement.
Tymoshenko has denied the accusations and said President Viktor Yanukovych orchestrated the trial against her to sideline competitors in the parliamentary elections next year.
Public support for Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions fell to 13.9 percent in December from 16.6 percent a month earlier and 39.1 percent in April 2010, according to a poll conducted by the Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies. Tymoshenko’s party saw its rating rise to 15.8 percent from 13.8 percent.
Moving Tymoshenko to the colony “contradicted the law,” her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said in televised remarks. Tymoshenko had to be kept in a detention center in Kiev because four other criminal cases against here were reopened by the country’s tax police last month, Vlasenko said.
--With assistance from Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev. Editors: Paul Abelsky, Eddie Buckle
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