Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, serving her 7 years long sentence of imprisonment, started a hunger strike in a protest against the assault committed by prison guards. Meanwhile, a video of a person similar to the ex-PM – faking a spinal injury and signalizing having an affair – was posted on the Internet.
The convicted politician, who had been complaining about her spinal pains, was moved to a specialist state hospital in Kharkov on Friday night, 21 April. While taking Tymoshenko out of her cell, members of the penitentiary service allegedly used force, which ended with a tussle – the former PM was covered in blankets and received a punch in the stomach. On Sunday 22 April, she was taken back to a penal colony and the Deputy Minister of Health informed that Tymoshenko refused examination. After the return, the oppositionist announced that going on a hunger strike, to potest against violence of the prison guards. Signs of the assault on Tymoshenko’s body were confirmed by Nina Karpachyova, parliament’s human rights representative, who visited the colony on 25 April: “I saw with my own eyes bruises on the right side of her stomach, on her shoulder and elbow. Ms Tymoshenko told me about the events in details”. Prison authorities, however, denied the allegation, stating that it was a part of “a political game”.
Meanwhile, one of pro-governmental news portals posted a video presenting the ex-PM in her cell. The person resembling Tymoshenko can be seen while cleaning a room, including bending down and making a bed, but after hearing a knocking on the door, she quickly goes back to her bed and covers herself with a blanket. After several minutes, the person that is supposed to be Tymoshenko stays alone with another person similar to the oppositionist’s lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko. They end their conversation with a long passionate kiss.
Watch a video with “Tymoshenko”:
The authenticity of the video raises, delicately speaking, severe doubts. Tymoshenko’s cell with lights being on all the time is monitored; therefore, it is hard to believe that she would indulge in such behaviour. Moreover, on the day of recording the events (15 December, when her lawyer visited her in prison) the sky, according to journalists from TVi, was full of clouds and it was raining outside. The video, however, shows a window full of sunlight. Sergei Sidorenko, deputy director of the penitentiary service of the colony, confirmed the authenticity of the video on Wednesday 25 April.
Translated by KD