Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka ordered on Wednesday an inquiry into jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s claim that she was beaten by prison guards.
“Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka ordered Kharkiv region Prosecutor Hennadiy Tyurin to conduct an inquiry ahead of a formal investigation,” the Prosecutor General’s Office press service said.
The Ukrainian opposition leader has been jailed for seven years for abusing her power by pushing through a 2009 gas deal with Russia. She is serving her term in a penal colony in the eastern city of Kharkiv. She has maintained her innocence.
On Tuesday, Tymoshenko, who suffers from spinal problems, started a hunger strike after prison guards allegedly beat her in the stomach while taking her to hospital by force. She had filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
After visiting Tymoshenko in jail, Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Nina Karpachyova confirmed on Wednesday that she had bruises on her arm, right elbow and the right part of her abdomen, according to opposition politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He said the ombudswoman had demanded that the Prosecutor General’s Office open a criminal investigation into the case.