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Tymoshenko asks Ukraine court to excuse her from trial for health reasons

Jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] on Monday requested permission to be absent from her tax evasion trial proceedings, which are scheduled to resume on July 31. Tymoshenko reportedly asked to be excused from the proceedings [RFE/RL report] due to health concerns. A German doctor who examined her has said that she will require eight weeks to recover adequately from her condition, according to a press release [text] on Tymoshenko's website. A Ukraine judge had postponed [JURIST report] the tax evasion trial last week after Tymoshenko failed to attend due to health concerns. Judge Kostyantyn Sadovsky held that it would be impossible to proceed with the trial when Tymoshenko is absent. Tymoshenko is being treated at a state-run hospital for back problems and has alleged that her health condition has not improved sufficiently to allow her to attend the hearings. Her tax evasion trial began in April but was initially delayed [JURIST reports] for health issues

Earlier this month, a Ukrainian appeals court postponed [JURIST report] the appeal hearing challenging Tymoshenko's corruption conviction and seven-year sentence. This marked the third postponement in the case. The case was last postponed in June [JURIST report]. The new date was set to August 16 following the request of the prosecution. Tymoshenko is reportedly suffering from a spinal condition which causes her debilitating pain. In May, the ECHR ended an investigation [JURIST report] into the health care conditions of Tymoshenko, finding that the Ukrainian government provided her with adequate care. She previously alleged that prison guards were beating her [press release, in Ukrainian], and refused to be treated [JURIST report] by prison doctors for back problems, believing they were under the direction of political rival President Viktor Yanukovych. Tymoshenko has already been sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption charges. Ukrainian prosecutors have also indicated that she will face charges [JURIST reports] in a 1996 contract killing.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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