Ukraine's ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was returned to prison on Sunday after being sent to a clinic Friday for medical treatment. Tymoshenko has refused to be treated [JURIST report] by the Ukrainian doctors at her prison for back problems she has been experiencing, as she believes they are under the direction of her political rival President Viktor Yanukovych. One of her defense lawyers, Serhiy Vlasenko, indicated that he believes she was moved back to prison because the original move to the clinic was against her will [RIA Novosti report]. Tymoshenko has been suffering from an unknown ailment, which has made it difficult for her to stand trial. Her daughter reported that the ailment is a slipped disk [BBC report], and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] last month urged the Ukrainian government [JURIST report] to ensure that she receives proper medical care outside of the prison. Tymoshenko is currently appealing a conviction [JURIST report] and seven-year prison sentence for abuse of power and corruption.
Earlier this month, a Ukrainian court began proceedings in the tax evasion trial [JURIST report] of Tymoshenko, who has not been able to attend proceedings due to her health problems. She announced in December that she was discontinuing all appeals [JURIST report] in Ukrainian courts so she could focus on obtaining intervention from the ECHR. Tymoshenko was denied release [JURIST report] for health issues earlier that month. The Ukrainian parliament also rejected an amendment [JURIST report] in November that would have acted to free Tymoshenko. Her conviction has drawn criticism [JURIST report] from the ECHR and the European Union [official website], as well as human rights groups internationally. These groups claim her conviction was politically motivated and her hearings lacked transparency normally afforded in judicial hearings.