Tymoshenko verdict a 'backward step': Germany

12th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany on Wednesday condemned the jailing of Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, saying the "democratic backwards step" was a reminder of periods in time when the rule of law was not respected.

"The federal government is very worried about the conviction" of Tymoshenko, the German government's deputy spokesman Georg Streiter said.

"It seems that in this and other cases, the law is being abused to curb democracy and political opposition. It reminds one of times thought long-since overcome, when the rule of law counted for very little," he added.

Germany called on Kiev to "find a way out of this situation and again allow a free exchange of political ideas, as well as strengthening democracy and press freedom."

On Tuesday, a Ukrainian court jailed ex-prime minister Tymoshenko for seven years after convicting her of abusing power; thereby enraging the West and jeopardising Kiev's hopes of EU membership.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the verdict would have "profound implications" for the bloc's ties with Ukraine, which had hoped this year to sign an Association Agreement in a key first step to membership.

Streiter said: "Democratic backward steps in Ukraine will have consequences for our relations."

© 2011 AFP

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