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Ukrainian parliament reduces sentences for economic crimes, but rejects 'Tymoshenko bills'

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The Ukrainian parliament passed a bill on Thursday that reduces sentences for a number of economic crimes, but rejected amendments that would have allowed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to avoid prison.

The Ukrainian parliament passed a bill on Thursday that reduces sentences for a number of economic crimes, but rejected amendments that would have allowed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko to avoid prison.

Tymoshenko, now Ukraine's leading opposition figure, faces seven years in prison if found guilty of exceeding her authority by signing a contract on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine without approval from her government in January 2009.

Parliamentary deputies refused to include in the agenda for discussion the amendments to the Criminal Code, which were introduced by the opposition. The bills proposed decriminalizing Article 365 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates jail time for abuse of office.

According to regulations, the Parliament may discuss and pass the bill on second reading on October 18-21.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has faced strong Western criticism over the trial, which Tymoshenko and her supporters have described as "political motivated."

Tymoshenko has also said she expects to be found guilty.

 

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