Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has today been moved from prison to a local hospital after a 19-day hunger strike.
Tymoshenko’s fast is in protest of alleged abuse and beatings she claims to have suffered at the hands of prison guards during a previous attempt to forcibly transport her to hospital in April. Recent photographs of the imprisoned politician show bruises to her arms and stomach which she claims were inflicted on her by guards.
Tymoshenko suffers from a painful and debilitating intervertebral disc hernia to the point where she has trouble walking.
Supporters and lawyers of the ex-premier have long insisted her condition has seriously deteriorated since she was imprisoned last year. They also claim that she didn’t receive appropriate medical treatment in the penal colony, which has been denied by Ukrainian authorities. A German doctor has travelled to Ukraine to treat her after she said she did not trust Ukrainian medical professionals.
Tymoshenko served as the Ukrainian Prime Minister between 2007-2010 and was the principal opponent in the 2010 presidential elections against current president Yanukovich. Last October she was sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of abusing power by signing a 2009 gas treaty with Russia. A tax evasion case (among others) has also been launched against her. Tymoshenko denies all charges against her and says that her imprisonment is political not criminal.