Paris Slams Tymoshenko Murder Charge

Paris Slams Tymoshenko Murder Charge
# 23 January 2013 18:29 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Paris expressed concern over the murder charge brought against jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said on Wednesday, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

Last Friday, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said Tymoshenko had been notified that she was a suspect in the 1996 killing of Ukrainian businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban. If convicted, she faces life in prison.

“We deeply regret the fact that new charges have been brought against Yulia Tymoshenko in the Shcherban case. We are, once again, expressing our concern, as stated earlier by France and her European partners, with regard to the obviously unfair and politically motivated prosecution directed against Yulia Tymoshenko,” Lalliot said.

For the past year and a half, France has repeatedly urged Ukraine to put an end to what it calls Ukraine’s judicial arbitrariness, and has also called on the country to uphold its international obligations and the rule of law.

“Ukrainian authorities say they want early rapprochement with the EU,” he said. “Today, a month before an EU-Ukraine summit, which will take place on February 25, it is just the right time to put substance behind those efforts.”

Shcherban, a Supreme Rada lawmaker who also headed Ukraine’s Aton financial corporation, was shot dead with his wife at an airport in eastern Ukraine in November 1996.

On Friday, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka accused Tymoshenko and another former premier, Pavlo Lazarenko of ordering the killing. The Prosecutor General’s Office statement accused Tymoshenko and Lazarenko of paying a total of $2.82 million for Shcherban’s murder.

Tymoshenko is currently serving a seven-year jail term for abusing her authority by signing a controversial gas deal with Russia in 2009. Critics have suggested that this sentence was politically motivated.