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26 February 2024

'Don't kill my mother': Tymoshenko's daughter


The daughter of Ukraine's jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Monday accused the authorities of wanting to kill her mother who faces a possible life sentence under new charges.

Prosecutors on Friday named the 52-year-old opposition politician, who is already serving a seven-year sentence on abuse of power charges, as a suspect in the 1996 murder of a powerful lawmaker.

If tried and convicted of the new charge of organising the gangland-style shooting, the former premier could spend the rest of her life in prison.

In an emotional appeal Monday, Tymoshenko's daugher Yevgenia, 32, warned that her mother's life was in danger and appealed to Yanukovych and law enforcers to ensure her safety.

"For me it is absolutely clear that they want to kill my mother. They do not want her to live," she said in a statement, referring to the Ukrainian authorities led by President Viktor Yanukovych.

"We are talking about the physical, conscious killing of my mother, Yulia Tymoshenko," she said in the statement released by Tymoshenko's party and addressed to Yanukovych and other officials.

"I do not even insist that you follow some sort of rules or law because right now the rules and laws do not work. I am asking you all just for one thing -- do not kill my mother," she wrote.

Tymoshenko is being treated in a hospital outside her prison for back pain. She has launched several hunger strikes in protest at her treatment and at electoral fraud.

Tymoshenko was controversially sentenced to a seven-year jail term in 2011 amid Western outrage.

The abuse of power charges were brought shortly after she lost a bitter election contest against her arch foe Yanukovych in 2010.

She is also being tried in a separate tax evasion case.

Prosecutors have accused Tymoshenko and her close ally, former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko of paying $2.8 million to a contract killer to eliminate lawmaker Yevgen Shcherban.

Tymoshenko's defence has denied her involvement and called the charges political.

In an apparent bid to pre-empt a new wave of outrage from Europe, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka on Sunday met European and US diplomats to inform them of the new charges against Tymoshenko.

"There is no political subtext here," he told the diplomats in remarks released by his office.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a lawmaker from Tymoshenko's political party Batkivshchyna, called on the parliament to hold an emergency session to discuss the former prime minister's situation.