Despite the harsh reaction from the European Union and
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and their appeal calling for
the immediate release of all political prisoners, the Ukrainian authorities
continue to harass their political opponents, Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of
the jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, said before the U.S. Senate Foreign
Relations Committee at a hearing on Ukraine at a Crossroads: What's at Stake
for the U.S. and Europe?.
"But I don’t want you to think that this is only about my mother. It is not. Others are being repressed and unjustly imprisoned. Her former colleague, Minister of Interior Yuri Lutsenko has been imprisoned for over a year on charges that would be laughable if they were not so tragic. Former Acting Minister of Defence Valery Ivashchenko has been imprisoned for almost two years, with his health severely deteriorating," she said in her speech, according to Tymoshenko's official website.
Eugenia Tymoshenko informed the members of the U.S. Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs that the Ukrainian authorities have put former Kharkiv government and regional leader of the Batkivshchyna Party Arsen Avakov on the international wanted list as well as about infringements of human rights and freedoms in her country. "Political repressions continue. My mother is only the most striking example of selective application of criminal law. This is a great challenge for Ukraine’s democratic development," she said.
Tymoshenko’s daughter also said the Yanukovych regime continues to put pressure on her family and has reopened cases against her father and grandfather.
She said one of the main reasons why her mother is being persecuted is that she fought corruption and the corrupt gas schemes used by RosUkrEnergo. "The current government’s activities are not only ruining the image of Ukraine, and Ukraine as a united nation, but also the profitable sectors of the economy, that become paralyzed and eventually abandoned, when the rule of law is ignored. Successful people prefer to leave Ukraine and our population is declining," she said.
Eugenia Tymoshenko said that it is paramount that Ukraine have free and fair elections. "But it would be impossible without major opposition leaders. I ask you to consider all possible ways to explain to Yanukovych’s regime the consequences of their actions," she added.
Eugenia Tymoshenko also thanked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the President Barack Obama's Administration for supporting her mother and Ukraine’s democratic development. "My mother believes in Ukraine’s democratic future," she stressed.
In turn, Senator Shaheen, who presided over the hearing, said the U.S. continues to closely monitor the situation in Ukraine. She called Yulia Tymoshenko’s continued imprisonment on dubious politically motivated charges "unacceptable and antithetical to a free and open system" and warned that "it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Ukraine to deepen relations with the West while Yulia Tymoshenko remains behind bars."
Serhiy Vlasenko, Yulia Tymoshenko’s lawyer, also attended the hearing.
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