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Euro 2012 Boycott 'Still Not Decided' As Concerns Grow For Ukraine's Yulia Tymoshenko

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 Yulia Tymoshenko: the foreign office is delaying over making a decision
Yulia Tymoshenko: the foreign office is delaying over making a decision

As concerns grow over the treatment of the Ukraine's former premier, Yulia Tymoshenko, in prison, the Foreign Office said there had still been no decision taken on whether to boycott Euro 2012 games in protest.

The Foreign Office's statement came after Holland threatened to boycott the tournament unless there is evidence of better treatment for Ms Tymoshenko in prison. Austria and Germany are planning to do the same.

Earlier, Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said he had not ruled out joining a boycott of England's matches in protest at the treatment of Ms Tymoshenko.

Pictures of the former premier covered in scratches and bruises appeared on 20 April. Fears are growing for her condition whilst on hunger strike in the wake of Kiev's refusal of an offer from Berlin of medical treatment in Germany.

Her daughter Eugenia Tymoshenko has said she is "intense pain" and prison officials are threatening to force feed her.

yulia tymoshenko trial court hearing

Yulia Tymoshenko before and after her time in prison

England are playing all three group matches in Ukraine but a Foreign Office spokesman said on Thursday: "We are keeping the situation under review in consultation with EU partners but no decision has yet been taken on ministerial attendance."

Mr Robertson initially planned to go to at least one of the games but that may now change.

A number of European politicians, including EU Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, said he will not attend the Euro 2012 opening ceremony in Kiev on June next month unless human rights conditions in Ukraine improve.

yulia tymneyekno

Yulia Tymoshenko shows her bruises

She was jailed last year for abusing her office after losing a bitter battle for the presidency against Viktor Yanukovych but the charge was dismissed in most European capitals as politically motivated

Meanwhile, Amnesty International today claimed Euro 2012 is being jeopardised by a "criminal" police force in Ukraine where police "have tortured people in an attempt to extort money, extract a confession, or simply because of the victims' sexuality or ethnic origin".

Its European director, John Dalhuisen, said: "The Ukrainian government must take action now to stop widespread police criminality.
"Failure to do so will encourage them to continue acting as a law unto themselves and put Euro 2012 fans in danger from a force that is out of control."

Meanwhile, five countries - Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Austria and the Czech Republic, have cancelled plans to join a summit of Central and East European leaders in Yalta, Ukraine, next week.

The growing protest has infuriated the Kiev leadership, with Ukraine's president warning that a western boycott of the prestigious football championship could see his country questioning its current steady steps towards closer trade and cooperation ties with the EU.

Tymoshenko was prime minister between 2007-10, and claims that bruises on her abdomen were caused by guards punching her in the stomach.

yulia daughter

Daughter Eugenia Tymoshenko

Her daughter Eugenia Tymoshenko has said she is "intense pain" and prison officials are threatening to force feed her.

Tymoshenko, a rival of Ukranian President Viktor Yanukovych, denies the abuse of power charges.

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