The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has refused to initiate criminal proceedings on jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s assault and battery claim but said she may appeal the decision in court.
“I believe it is Tymoshenko’s right to appeal the Prosecutor’s Office decision in court,” Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said.
Last week, photos appeared showing Tymoshenko with bruises on her body, which she claims were inflicted by prison guards as they were forcibly transferring her to a hospital. Tymoshenko, who is suffering from severe back pain and has been diagnosed with a herniated spinal disc, is being held at a penal colony in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov.
Ukrainian prosecutors have denied the allegations, saying the bruises were the result of Tymoshenko's "pushing against blunt objects."
Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and heroine of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, was jailed for seven years in October last year for abuse of office in what Western governments said was a politically motivated trial. She faces another trial on embezzlement charges.
She denies wrongdoing and says she is being persecuted by President Viktor Yanukovych.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said that Tymoshenko has tentatively agreed to undergo treatment in a hospital in Kharkov, eastern Ukraine, under the condition that a German doctor monitors her condition.
Previously, she refused to accept treatment in the Kharkov hospital, citing German doctors’ recommendations. The course of treatment is expected to begin on May 8.