KIEV, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has demanded she be allowed to attend a Kiev court on Wednesday where a witness in a murder investigation against her is to be questioned, her lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko said.
“Yulia’s position is unchanged,” Vlasenko said, the Ukrainian news agency Unian reported. “She requests to be brought to court, despite her health status, as the talk is about absurd but serious charges.”
In late January, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka accused Tymoshenko and another former premier, Pavlo Lazarenko, of ordering the killing of Ukrainian businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban. A Ukrainian parliamentary lawmaker who also headed Ukraine’s Aton financial corporation, Shcherban was shot dead with his wife at Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine in November 1996.
The Prosecutor General’s Office suspects Tymoshenko and Lazarenko of paying $2.8 million for his murder. Tymoshenko, who is already serving seven years for abuse of authority in signing a controversial gas deal with Russia in 2009, has denied involvement in the Shcherban murder. If found guilty, she faces life imprisonment.
Unian reported on Monday that the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office had reopened a murder case against Tymoshenko, but Vlasenko said on Monday he had received an official letter from the Prosecutor’s Office stating that the murder case was closed on April 26.
The Prosecutor’s Office said the case had not been dropped, but suspended while prosecutors were waiting for a response to legal assistance request sent to other countries. It did not name those countries or say whether any of them have responded so far.
Vlasenko said Tymoshenko’s request has been handed to the administration of the penal colony in the city of Kharkiv where the ex-premier is serving her sentence. She has been undergoing treatment in a hospital for over a year.
The next hearing into the Shcherban case, including the questioning of Petro Kirichenko, Lazarenko’s former aide, has been set for Wednesday.