Ex-Ukraine PM Tymoshenko detained at trial

Updated: 2011-08-06 07:44


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KIEV - Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the country's leading opposition politician, was detained during her trial on Friday after the judge ruled that she was "systematically" disrupting courtroom proceedings.

Ex-Ukraine PM Tymoshenko detained at trial
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko arrives for a court hearing in Kiev August 5, 2011.  [Photo/Agencies]

Tymoshenko was led from the courtroom and driven to a detention centre under a heavy police escort who jostled with supporters protesting and chanting "Shame!".

Charges of abuse of office against Tymoshenko have drawn criticism from the European Union, which is now in talks with the former Soviet republic to strengthen bilateral ties.

Ukrainian prosecutors accuse Tymoshenko of illegally forcing state energy company Naftogaz to sign a gas supply contract with Russia in 2009 -- charges which she denies.

Tymoshenko, dressed in a white blouse and sporting her trademark platinum blond plait, was escorted from the courthouse after Judge Rodion Kireyev approved a state prosecutor's motion to take her into custody over "systemic violations" of rules.

He did not say how long the detention would last and adjourned the trial until Monday.

Tymoshenko, who twice served as prime minister between 2005 and 2010, says the case against her is politically motivated and has been fabricated on the orders of Yanukovich, who only narrowly beat her in last year's presidential election.

Yanukovich has denied any involvement with Tymoshenko's case while his government says her actions in the gas deal with Russia were a betrayal of national interests.

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