Ukraine's Jailed Tymoshenko on Hunger Strike
Ukraine's jailed opposition leader and former premier Yulia Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike since Friday to protest her treatment by prison wardens and doctors, her lawyer said.
"Yulia Tymoshenko has declared a hunger strike," Interfax quoted Serhiy Vlasenko as saying outside her prison in the eastern city of Kharkiv where Tymoshenko has been jailed since last year on abuse of office charges.
The announcement came after a bizarre episode in which the former Orange Revolution leader was taken from her jail by ambulance to a local hospital on Friday evening only to be sent back again on Sunday.
Tymoshenko has been complaining of debilitating back pain that last week prevented her from attending the start of a new trial on tax evasion charges that could see her time in jail extended from seven to 12 years.
She has expressed fears that local doctors could poison her or infect her with a disease and demanded that the hospital be checked by a team of German doctors who examined her in prison earlier this year.
Vlasenko earlier said that Tymoshenko had been taken to hospital by force.
Officials acknowledged on Sunday that the fiery critic of the current government had rebuffed medics' attempt to give her a medical examination.
Local prosecutor Hennadiy Tyurin for his part confirmed that Tymoshenko had refused to go to the clinic voluntarily.
"She got her things together, got dressed and then laid down in bed and said: I am not going anywhere," Interfax quoted Tyurin as saying on Tuesday
"According to the law and the criminal administrative code, the prison service has the right to use physical force," Tyurin said.
"They took her in their arms, carried her to the vehicle and took her to hospital," the chief Kharkiv prosecutor said.