Jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has sent a letter to penitentiary officials saying she refuses to wear prison robe and work while in detention.

“I refuse to comply with all prison regulations, including obligatory work, because I already have a job, I’m the chairman of the Batkyvshchina party,” she said. “I also refuse to wear a prison robe,” RIA Novosti reported.

Inmates of the women’s jail in Kharkov where Tymoshenko is being held are allowed to wear casual clothes in their cells, but must put on blue prison robes while working at the jail’s garment factory.

Head of Ukraine’s State Penitentiary Service, Oleksandr Lysytskov, said in late February that under the Ukrainian law, work in penal institutions "is provided for all inmates" except those who can’t work for reasons of age and health.

The former prime minister, however, may be exempt from working in prison for medical reasons. Tymoshenko’s supporters claim her health has deteriorated since her pre-trial detention began in August 2011 and that she is no longer able to walk due to back problems.

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