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Official: Former Ukrainian prime minister transferred to hospital

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Wed May 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yulia Tymoshenko has been on hunger strike since April 20
  • The ex-Ukrainian prime minister is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of authority
  • Last year, a court found her guilty of signing overpriced gas contracts with Russia

(CNN) -- A former Ukrainian prime minister was transferred to a hospital for treatment Wednesday, a day after she agreed to end her nearly three-week hunger strike, her spokeswoman said.

Yulia Tymoshenko was moved to a hospital in the eastern city of Kharkov, where her daughter will be allowed to visit, according to spokeswoman Natalya Lysova.

Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison sentence after she was convicted last year of abuse of authority. She went on hunger strike last month to draw attention to "violence and lack of rights" in her country after she said she was beaten unconscious in prison.

The prosecutor said his office investigated her claim of abuse and found no proof to substantiate her allegations, but European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said last month that the Ukrainian Ombudsperson's Office confirmed the report.

Ashton called on Ukraine "to examine promptly and impartially any complaints of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

Read more: How Ukraine's Euro 2012 dream turned sour

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also expressed concern over her treatment, saying last week that photos released by the Ombudsperson's Office "further call into question the conditions of her confinement."

In October, a Ukrainian court found her guilty of abuse of authority for signing overpriced gas contracts with Russia and sentenced her to the seven-year prison term.

The prosecutor said the gas deals inflicted damages to the country amounting to more than 1.5 billion hryvnias (almost $190 million at the current exchange rate). The court ruled she must repay the money.

Amnesty International has slammed the verdict as "politically motivated" and called for the release of Tymoshenko, who was prime minister from January to September 2005 and December 2007 to March 2010.

Clinton also called for her release and that of other members of her government "and the restoration of their full civil and political rights."

CNN's Alla Eshchenko contributed to this report.

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