The legal team of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, will next week file an appeal against her seven-year jail sentence, said one of her lawyers on Wednesday.
“We are going to hand in the appeal next week,” said Yuriy Sukhov, adding that the defence needed to go through the entire appeals process in Ukraine if it was to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. He said the appeal would be filed with the Kiev appeals court and later with the court of cassation. “But, unfortunately, we do not have great hope that the verdict will be annulled.”
The opposition leader has claimed the decision to jail her for exceeding her powers in a gas deal with Russia in 2009 was ordered by President Viktor Yanukovych and the conviction sparked international outrage.
A judge on Tuesday found Ms. Tymoshenko guilty of exceeding her authority in 2009 by making the state energy company sign a 10-year gas import deal with Russia that was overly advantageous to Moscow.
“The court rules that Y.V. Tymoshenko intentionally used her powers to criminal ends,” he said. “The court finds her guilty and sentences her to seven years in prison.”
He said Ms. Tymoshenko sustained a loss to state gas firm Naftogaz of 1.5 billion hryvnia ($190 million) by agreeing the 10-year contract and ordered her to pay back the money in full herself.
Mr. Sukhov appeared more optimistic over the prospect of cancelling the Article of the penal code under which Ms. Tymoshenko was condemned, an idea mooted by some lawmakers and could be discussed in Parliament soon.
“If Article 365 is decriminalised, then the verdict will be cancelled completely,” he said. This would include the financial losses that Ms. Tymoshenko has been ordered to pay back under the ruling.