Tymoshenko stopped from meeting OSCE delegation because of hunger strike

The Penitentiary Service of Ukraine on Tuesday refused to allow imprisoned former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko from meeting with the head of the OSCE Observer Mission despite permission having been given earlier.


“The meeting was planned for Tuesday. However given the new circumstances arising on 29 October, namely Tymoshenko’s refusing to eat, bearing in mind the need for the prisoner to be under constant supervision of the doctors, and also the doctors’ recommendations and the requirements of the departmental normative base in such a situation, the Penitentiary Service information that it will be impossible for the previously planned meeting to take place”.

Ms Tymoshenko announced hunger strike on Monday over what she calls rigging by the regime of the results of the parliamentary elections.

The OSCE observers called the refusal to allow the meeting because of Ms Tymoshenko’s hunger strike to be a violation of her human rights.

Head of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Delegation Walburga Habsburg Douglas: "I would like to stress that such a refusal is a violation of human rights,"

Ms Douglas’ colleague, Chairperson of the OSCE Committee on Democracy and Human Rights Matteo Mecacci, said that observance of human rights was important to all countries in the OSCE, and especially for Ukraine, which is preparing to chair the organization next year. He stressed that Ukraine is an OSCE member and that this organization respects the rights of all prisons. The official reason they were given was that Ms Tymoshenko can’t meet with the people who submitted an official request because she’s on hunger strike. She is not infringing any rules, he pointed out. “She is harming nobody. She's just making a political statement concerning the elections," he said.

"And this [refusal to allow a meeting] leads to an even greater violation of human rights. It contradicts the major principles of human rights, which should be respected by all countries that are OSCE members, and especially the country that is to chair the OSCE next year," Mecacci added.

Douglas noted that the report of the OSCE mission presented in Kyiv on Monday contains a very critical evaluation of the elections, reporting a great deficit of democracy in Ukraine, and the democratic regress of the country.

"Unfortunately, today's situation just proved our point. OSCE representatives are going no later than tomorrow [October 31] to start new attempts to meet with the former premier. We won't give up," the head of OSCE mission said.

In turn, Mecacci said that he considers what happened a mistake by the Ukrainian authorities.

"The reason for such persistence is the belief that this was a mistake by the Ukrainian authorities. We hope that they will correct it," he said.


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