Statement by the spokesperson of High Representative Catherine Ashton on the situation of Yulia Tymoshenko
The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:
“The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, is deeply preoccupied by the situation of Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister of Ukraine. Today the Ukrainian Ombudsperson’s Office confirmed that Ms Tymoshenko was subjected to physical violence during the transfer from her cell to a hospital on 20 April. The High Representative recalls the obligation of Ukraine to examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The High Representative is seriously concerned by the decision of Ms Tymoshenko to begin a hunger strike to draw the attention of the international community to the situation in Ukraine.
The High Representative calls on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the full respect of the right of Ms Tymoshenko to adequate medical assistance in an appropriate institution. The High Representative also insists on the right of Yulia Tymoshenko to have access to her lawyers without restriction, and encourages the Ukrainian authorities to allow visits by family members.
As a sign of their political will to clarify the situation, the High Representative asks the Ukrainian authorities to allow the EU Ambassador, accompanied by independent medical specialists, to visit Ms Tymoshenko in prison. The EU Ambassador has been instructed, pending agreement of the authorities, to travel to Kharkiv at the earliest opportunity”.