GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Former Unkrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymochenko was handed a seven-year prison sentence Tuesday 11 October, found guilty of criminally abusing her power, in particular of losing large amounts of money in a natural gas deal with Russia. Tymochenko was one of the heroes of the Orange Revolution in 2004 who fought the regime of Victor Yanukovych, widely considered to be tainted by fraud. Tymochenko then lost the presidency in a close race in 2010, to Yanukovych, in a climate coloured by economic discontent.
The judge also ordered her to back the millions lost by the state in the gas deal, and told her she cannot run for political office for three years after completing her prison term.
The trial has been heavily criticized as politically motivated in the West, with Catherine Ashton, European Union foreign minister warning Kiev within two hours of the verdict of “profound implications” for Ukraine and its integration into the EU, if the sentence is upheld.