One of the defense lawyers for imprisoned former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] was detained by police Monday, according to Arseniy Yatsenyuk [official website] an MP for Tymoshenko's All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" [party website; in Ukrainian] party. Yatsenyuk has not provided [BBC news report] any additional information on the current situation of lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko [Gazeta backgrounder; in Ukrainian]. In 2011 Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report] on charges of abuse of power and corruption. The former PM has been suffering from spinal problems and has been treated by German doctors while incarcerated. Tymoshenko's continued imprisonment has been a major hurdle [Reuters report] to the November 28 signing of association and free trade agreements [EU backgrounder] between Ukraine and the EU.
Pending charges and the imprisonment of Tymoshenko have led to an international outcry for her release. Last month Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych [official website] stated that he would sign a law [JURIST report] allowing for the release of Tymoshenko. In May the Ukraine Prosecutor General [official website, in Ukrainian] reopened [JURIST report] a murder case against Tymoshenko. The charges, originally filed in January [JURIST report], allege that Tymoshenko and former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko [JURIST news archive] ordered the murder of Yevhen Shcherban and two others in 1996. The European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in April that Ukraine violated the European Convention on Human Rights by jailing Tymoshenko for politically-motivated reasons. In January the state began investigating [JURIST report] her lawyer for several criminal charges. In September the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee [official website] unanimously passed [JURIST report] a resolution calling for Ukraine to release Tymoshenko from prison.