Ukraine president to pardon Tymoshenko asap, says Yanukovych adviser

By bne IntelliNews May 13, 2013

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych will pardon Yulia Tymoshenko as soon as the current investigations against her are satisfied, a non-staff adviser to the president claimed on May 10.

Hanna Herman, an influential deputy of the ruling Party of Regions, who has long been close to the president, told Radio Liberty that she firmly believes the former prime minister will receive a presidential pardon once all judicial proceedings against Tymoshenko are concluded. The continued jailing of Tymoshenko has been named as the main obstacle to cementing closer relations with the EU.

"I have repeatedly said that I believe in the president's mercy and I believe that the time will come when he will be able to use his right to grant pardon to Yulia Volodymirivna [Tymoshenko]," Herman said, according to Interfax.

"[Tymoshenko] should not be hiding from the trial," Herman insisted. "She should participate in the trial and show the public that she has nothing to hide. I believe that when all is over, no doubt everything will be done to ease her fate, despite the fact that the courts' rulings may be different, because there are really serious accusations there."

A petition for a presidential pardon for Tymoshenko - currently serving seven years on charges that she abused her power when signing a gas contract with Russia in 2009 - was rejected on April 27. The Ukrainian presidential commission turned down the request saying that it could not grant a pardon until all judicial processes against the former PM have been completed.

Tymoshenko is reportedly suffering from severe health problems during her incarceration, and the former darling of the Orange Revolution has become a cause celebre in Brussels and Washington. However, she faces several investigations into her past in Ukraine's shady energy market.

A court is currently considering a case into financial irregularities at United Energy Systems, which was earlier led by Tymoshenko. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General said in January that his office has completed an investigation into the 1996 killing of Yevhen Shcherban, which it says was motivated by a conflict of interests concerning the gas market. The prosecutor has said he believes Tymoshenko ordered the assassination, but has yet to bring charges against her.

More than 100 various petitions for pardoning Tymoshenko have been sent to the president since the ex-premier's imprisonment, which is widely seen as a political manoevuer by Yanukovych to block the participation of his rival in the presidential elections next year. Tymoshenko is seen as the main leader of the opposition, although polls suggest she is more divisive than others such as Vitali Klitschko.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in late April that Tymoshenko's 2011 dentention was unlawful. The court held that "Tymoshenko's pre-trial detention had been arbitrary" and that "the lawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed." However, the EU court did not uphold Tymoshenko's complaints of alleged physical mistreatment, and did not address the applicant's main complaint that her arrest was politically motivated.

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