KYIV, Ukraine, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) says it has found no political motives on the part of the Ukraine Government in the arrest of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, as has been alleged by her legal team.
When asked in an interview with news agency Interfax if the Court would describe Tymoshenko's arrest as politically motivated, Roderick Liddell, the European Court's Director of Common Services, replied: "The court did not make such a ruling."
He explained that instead the court had ruled on a matter of criminal procedure in which Mrs. Tymoshenko had shown a lack of respect for the judge. She was found in contempt of court by the judge in the proceedings.During pre-trial hearings in the case, which in 2011 led to her conviction for illegally signing a $10 billion gas deal with Russia without the authorisation of her Cabinet or the Parliament of Ukraine, Tymoshenko was ordered into custody by the trial judge following her repeated loud and abusive outbursts in the court room. Liddell was quoted as saying that what the European Court had specifically found was that the pre-trial detention "was not in line with one of the principles of the European Convention." The clarification by the European Court of Human Rights official is significant because both Tymoshenko and a number of media reports had previously claimed that the Court had indeed ruled that her detention was politically motivated. Tymoshenko's legal team last week claimed that this meant she should be immediately released, even though her appeals process is still underway and still awaiting another judgment by the ECHR. When asked if the Court's ruling meant Tymoshenko should be released, Mr. Liddell, however, said he could not make "any overall interpretations" on the ruling.