(CN) – Citing improvements, the European Court of Human Rights lifted its interim order forcing Ukrainian officials to provide medical care to imprisoned Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko, but warned that the court was ready to take up the matter again if necessary.
Tymoshenko, an economist, became wealthy in the gas industry before she became a leader of the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution, in which the rigged electoral victory of Viktor Yanukovych was canceled, and Viktor Yushchenko was elected president in a second round of voting.
Yushchenko fulfilled a campaign promise and appointed Tymoshenko prime minister, though political infighting caused him to dismiss her 7 months later.
She became prime minister again in a coalition government with Yushchenko in 2007, though the two became increasingly hostile to one another.
When their old political enemy Yanukovych defeated Tymoshenko in the February 2010 presidential election, Tymoshenko denounced it as rigged, though she remained prime minister under Ukraine’s parliamentary system.
Yanukovych forced her from office and Tymoshenko became the administration’s most vocal and visible critic. In an April lawsuit this year, Tymoshenko claimed the Yanukovych administration had dismantled Ukraine’s independent judiciary by gaining the “allegiance of at least 16 of the 20 members on the Supreme Council of Judges.”
Corruption charges against her followed, and on Oct. 11, 2011, after a trial in which Yanukovych testified against her, Tymoshenko was sentenced to 7 years in prison for abuse of power, and was ordered to pay Ukraine $188 million.
Tymoshenko lodged a complaint in the human rights court during the lead up to trial, claiming that the charges against her were politically motivated, that she was detained without judicial review and that she was denied medical care.
The court ordered the Ukraine to give her proper medical treatment on March 15 this year.
Weeks later, Tymoshenko said that prison guards beat her and transferred her to the Central Clinical Hospital of the State Railway, which she contended was ill-equipped to treat hear.
She announced the beginning of a 20-day hunger strike protesting her forced transfer.
“On 22 April 2012 the applicant was returned to prison,” the court summarized in a press release. “On the next day she filed a complaint with the Kharkiv Prosecutor Office about her forced transfer to the hospital. The prosecutor confirmed that force had been used by the prison staff but decided not to investigate the case further.”
Over the next few days, the Ukraine issued a statement about her health, confirming her bruises.
Tymoshenko ended her hunger strike the day she was sent to a German neurologist, on May 9.
Three days later, prison officials published a full report on her medical history.
Shortly thereafter, the Ukraine asked the human rights court to lift the interim order.
“The Court noted that the applicant is currently receiving treatment in the Central Clinical Hospital, and that she is being supervised by an outside neurologist,” the press release states. “In the circumstances, given the threshold applied in cases involving Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the Court decided that the interim measure should be lifted.”
The court added the issue is not completely settled.
“The Court also requested the respondent Government to submit further observations on the admissibility and merits of the case including the issues of the forced transfer to the hospital in the night of 20 April 2012 and the permanent surveillance.
“The Court remains seized of the matter, and it will be open to the applicant to make a fresh request under Rule 39 if the circumstances require. The Court will deal with the substantive issues raised by the case once it has received the parties’ written observations.”