The arrest of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other opposition politicians is a disgrace to the national court system, ex-president Viktor Yushchenko said on Friday.
"I have said many times that I am against Tymoshenko's arrest, as well as the arrests of... other opposition figures. They are not criminals who pose a danger to society or the lives of other citizens," Yushchenko said.
Tymoshenko was arrested on August 5 on charges of damaging Ukraine's national interests by signing "unfair" gas supply deals with Russia as prime minister in 2009. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
"It's obvious that taking them into custody is a way to restraint their capability to defend themselves and instrument of putting pressure on them," the ex-president went on.
"This is a discredit to Ukraine's judiciary," he said.
Yushchenko said he refrained from blasting the national judiciary immediately after his one-time close ally Tymoshenko's arrest as he was summoned as a witness in her case.
Tymoshenko on Thursday requested permission for a medical examination of mysterious symptoms, including blotches on her body, but the court did not give its consent, saying she had earlier refused medical attention.
The EU and the French Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed deep concern over the development and urged Ukraine to allow Tymoshenko to see a doctor.