Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko sentenced 7 years in prision

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Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced seven years of imprisonment by a court for exceeding power in a 2009 gas deal with Russia and squandering public funds, a judicial source said Tuesday.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko addresses the parliament in Kiev March 3, 2010. [Xinhua/Reuters File Photo]

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko addresses the parliament in Kiev March 3, 2010. [Xinhua/Reuters File Photo]

Judge Rodion Kireev said that in January 2009, then Prime Minister Tymoshenko had "used the power granted to her for criminal purposes and, acting intentionally, committed acts that clearly went beyond the rights, which have led to serious consequences."

The judge said Tymoshenko caused a 190 million-U.S.-dollar loss to state enterprise Naftogaz Ukraine by agreeing a 10-year contract on gas imports from Russia in 2009.

Kireev ordered Tymoshenko should reimburse the state nearly 190 million dollars.

Analysts expect that after such a verdict, Ukraine's relations with Western countries and Russia will become more complicated.

The Interfax-Ukraine News Agency quoted Kireev as saying that Tymoshenko can appeal the sentence in the country's Court of Appeals within 15 days.

Tymoshenko, however, declared she will appeal the verdict in the European Court of Human Rights.

"No sentence can stop me. We will fight and defend my honest name in the European Court, and I am convinced that the European Court of Human Rights will make a legitimate, lawful decision," she said at the court.

Prosecutors charged Tymoshenko in May 2011 for overstepping her powers by signing the 2009 gas deal with Russia. She has been detained since Aug. 5 for contempt of court.

Tymoshenko was the central figure in the 2004 mass protests, or the so-called Orange Revolution, during which current President Viktor Yanukovich had to give up the post of president.

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