Czechs grant Oleksandr Tymoshenko asylum

THE husband of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was granted political asylum in the Czech Republic yesterday.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vladimir Repka said his ministry approved the application submitted by Oleksandr Tymoshenko.

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Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s top opposition leader and a former presidential candidate, was sentenced to seven years in jail in October in a trial the West has condemned as politically motivated. She has reportedly been in poor health and denied medical care in a Kiev, Ukraine, prison. In December, the EU balked at signing a landmark cooperation agreement with Ukraine over her jailing.

In Moscow, Yulia Tymoshenko’s lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said on Friday that Oleksandr Tymoshenko had asked for asylum in the Czech Republic because he is being targeted in an ongoing probe into his wife’s business activities when she owned a top Ukraine’s energy company.

Vlasenko said Oleksandr requested asylum because a criminal investigation has been launched against him in Ukraine in an attempt to increase pressure on his jailed wife.