Tymoshenko tortured, daughter informs US

Tymoshenko tortured, daughter informs US

WASHINGTON
Tymoshenko tortured, daughter informs US

Eugenia Tymoshenko urges the US government to pressure Yanukovych to free the former leader. REUTERS photo

The daughter of Ukraine’s jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said her mother was being abused in prison, as she pleaded with lawmakers to pressure Kiev to release her.

Tymoshenko has been “illegally imprisoned, maltreated and humiliated for six months” in prison, and was being subject to “sleep deprivation and intimidation to try and break her,” Eugenia Tymoshenko told lawmakers at a hearing of the European Affairs subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year jail sentence after a court convicted her of abuse of power, which she claimed was a political prosecution by her rival Viktor Yanukovych, who is now the president. Her daughter urged the U.S. government to pressure Yanukovych to free the former leader. Eugenia Tymoshenko said her mother is constantly kept in a lit cell under video surveillance and recently fell unconscious from a “mysterious loss of blood pressure.” Prison authorities have said she merely felt dizzy. A top U.S. lawmaker warned Feb. 1 that relations with the West were at risk over the imprisonment. “It would be difficult if not impossible for Ukraine to deepen relations with the West while Ms Tymoshenko remains behind bars,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen at the hearing.

Top US spy says Ukraine becoming authoritarian

The top U.S. intelligence official warned that democracy is under siege in Ukraine. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Ukraine is moving toward authoritarian rule under President Viktor Yanukovych.

Clapper cited Ukraine’s crackdown on opposition, particularly the prosecution of Yulia Tymoshenko while outlining threats to the U.S. He called the charges against Tymoshenko politically motivated and blamed Yanukovych’s government for manipulating election laws.

Compiled from AP and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine, United States