Ukraine Refuses to Decriminalize 'Tymoshenko Statute'
Ukraine's Parliament on Wednesday voted down a proposal to decriminalize the statute used to convict former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, despite the urging of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In October 2011, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of office for exceeding her authority in signing a 2009 gas deal with Russia, a verdict immediately condemned by both the European Union and Russia as politically motivated.
In late January, PACE adopted a resolution urging Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych to stop prosecuting Tymoshenko. The politician should be allowed to take part in the October parliamentary elections in the country, the resolution said.
The proposal to implement the PACE resolution was supported by 147 Ukrainian deputies with a minimum of 226 votes needed for its adoption, RIA Novosti reported.
Fractions of the pro-presidential Party of Regions, communists and representatives of the People's Party headed by parliamentary spokesman Volodymir Litvin voted against the resolution.
At the same time, 270 deputies backed an alternative document which includes the general PACE recommendations, but does not include a proposal to decriminalize Tymoshenko's article. The draft was proposed by a member of the People's Party.
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