Yulia Timoshenko, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, was today found guilty of “abuse of office” and sentenced to a seven-year prison term as well as payment of a large sum in “damages”. After serving her term she is to be barred from public office for three years.
In this connection Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has issued the following statement:
“The verdict announced today in the case against former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko is a setback for Ukraine.
It regrettably casts a very bad light on the rule of law in the country. This cannot fail to have consequences for our bilateral relations as well as the EU’s relations with Ukraine.
We will be keeping a very close watch now on how Kyiv deals with the Timoshenko case and the cases of other former government members.
From Ukraine’s political leaders we expect a commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”
The former Prime Minister’s trial began on 24 June 2011. Since 5 August she has been held in custody for “contempt of court”. Since spring 2010, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has been conducting investigations into numerous members of the former government and their associates.