Woken up without explanation and carried to a police vehicle on a stretcher, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been moved from a Kiev prison to a remote prison colony about 300 miles east of the capital on Friday, her party said.
Tymoshenko was taken at night, without any warning or explanation, and early in the morning, actually on a stretcher, she was loaded onto a truck and driven in the direction of Kharkiv, her aide Oleksandr Turchynoc said, citing prison officials, The Associated Press reported.
The current authorities are violating the court verdict that ruled to keep Tymoshenko in jail, not in a colony, Turchinov said, in comments carried by the Interfax news service. He said the transfer was a New Year's present for President [Viktor] Yanukovych, who, he said, was annoyed by her writings from prison.
In an essay published in The Moscow Times, Tymoshenko wrote that her comfort this Christmas was knowing that the godlessness, inhumanity and criminality of Yanukovych's government had been exposed.
As Anna Akhmatova, the great poetic chronicler of Stalin's terror, said, 'I am alive in this grave, Tymoshenko wrote. Indeed, I am more alive than the men who have imprisoned me here.
Tymoshenko, 51, was convicted in October of abusing her powers while negotiating a natural gas import contract in Russia in 2009, and sentenced to seven years in jail. The United States and the European Union have condemned the ruling, alleging that the conviction is a ploy to keep the top opposition leader behind bars in order to keep her from elections.
On Friday, Ukrainian authorities insisted that Tymoshenko was being held in comfortable conditions, The New York Times reported. Rebutting previous reports, the State Penitentiary Service said she had been taken to the prison in a wheelchair, saying she was moved in a comfortable minibus with all the accommodations (biotoilet, wash basin, two couches.)
Last week, an Ukrainian appeals court upheld her guilty verdict and sentence. She boycotted the appeals hearing, saying in a statement that seeking truth and justice in the Ukrainian courts is completely futile.