11:14 06.07.2011

Tymoshenko continuing to sit in court defiantly, describes UESU charges as trumped up

The Pechersky District Court of Kyiv has started a meeting to continue hearing the criminal case opened against former Ukrainian Prime Minister and Batkivschyna Party leader Yulia Tymoshenko on charges of abuse office in signing gas supply contracts with Russia in 2009.

An Interfax-Ukraine reporter said that the meeting, apart from Tymoshenko, was also attended by her new lawyer, Mykola Tytarenko. MP Serhiy Vlasenko, who earlier defended Tymoshenko, was absent from the courtroom.

Before entering the courthouse, Tymoshenko said that a criminal case opened by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) regarding United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) had been "falsified."

"You know that brave Khoroshkovsky [SBU Chief Valeriy Khoroshkovsky], the main secret service man of Ukraine, yesterday opened yet another case against me under fake documents from 1996," she told journalists on Wednesday.

Tymoshenko said she was confident that the opening of the criminal case was evidence that "the three previous cases regarding the Kyoto money, medical vehicles and gas have just collapsed."

"They see that society has already issued its verdict and realizes that I committed no crime as prime minister. So now they have returned to 1996 to search for fake documents from the Kuchma era... They could even return to the period of the Mongol-Tatar yoke and call me to account for supporting the Golden Horde," she said.

Tymoshenko also said her defense lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko was in the United States.

She said that she and her defense would demand that a month be given to them to study the case.

After the start of the meeting, the ex-prime minister and judge Rodion Kireyev started a war of words as Tymoshenko again refused to stand up.

"You are continuing to show disrespect [for the court] through your behavior," Kieyev said, whereas Tymoshenko replied: "I'm not getting up, because I'm protesting against this trial."

She said that the case could not be heard in the absence of Vlasenko, whereas the court ruled that it could.

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