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Ukraine may allow jailed Yulia Tymoshenko to leave for medical care

By Alla Eshchenko, CNN
updated 5:38 PM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
A picture taken on April 25, 2012, shows Yulia Tymoshenko in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony in Kharkiv.
A picture taken on April 25, 2012, shows Yulia Tymoshenko in the Kachanivska penitentiary colony in Kharkiv.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: President says he would sign a law allowing Tymoshenko to leave for care
  • NEW: Ukraine's Parliament is now preparing such a law, president says
  • NEW: Courts would need to set up an exit procedure
  • NEW: Tymoshenko would like to go to Germany before November 20, daughter says

(CNN) -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych would sign a law that would allow imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to leave the country for medical treatment if Parliament passes such a measure, he said Thursday.

The comment on the president's official website confirmed a second-hand account of his position given earlier by Tymoshenko's spokeswoman, Natalia Lysova,who said the president is ready to let the jailed former prime minister to go abroad for medical treatment.

In separate remarks to reporters in the eastern city of Svetlodarsk in the Donetsk region, Yanukovych added that Parliament is preparing a law to help Tymoshenko's medical situation.

Once there is legislation, "most likely, it will be a court that will take a decision about an exit procedure, about maintaining some guarantees," Yanukovich said.

Media reports have said Tymoshenko has suffered serious back pain while in prison.

Her daughter, Yevgenia, said that her mother would like "to travel to Germany or to a place outside of Ukraine where she can be medically treated."

Yevgenia Tymoshenko said that she expects her mother's release to take place before November 20.

"It was very hard for her to make this decision (to leave). So she made this decision, and now of course we are waiting, and our European friends are waiting for the decision from the president," the daughter said. "To make this decision for him is also very easy and it would have been very fast if he used his right for a pardoning decree."

Ukraine: Caught between East and West

Two years ago, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison after being convicted of abuse of authority over a natural gas deal negotiated with Russia in 2009.

Women demanding democratic reform
Ukraine's Tymoshenko loses appeal

The United States and Europe see the punishment as politically motivated.

In 2012, after Tymoshenko was allegedly beaten unconscious by guards, she went on a hunger strike to draw attention to "violence and lack of rights" in her country.

Opinion: Tymoshenko could become Europe's Suu Kyi

Back in April, the European Court of Human Rights found that Tymoshenko suffered arbitrary detention in 2011, violating multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The outspoken Tymoshenko, famous for her blond braid, was a heroine of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution.

That wave of peaceful protest swept her and Viktor Yushchenko, Yanukovych's chief rival, into power, but the promise of the revolution is seen as having soon turned sour.

Yanukovych beat Tymoshenko in the country's 2010 presidential contest.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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