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Tymoshenko loses detention appeal

Kharkiv - A Ukrainian court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko to relax her detention conditions, more than two months into a protest movement she has vocally supported.

Lawyers for Tymoshenko applied to the court in the eastern town of Kharkiv, where the former prime minister is being held, to allow her to use a mobile telephone, have more visitors and take walks around the town.

Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev. Picture: Sergei Chuzavkov. Credit: AP

“The defence's request cannot be satisfied,” said Antonina

Yurieva, the judge presiding the appeal.

Tymoshenko did not attend the hearing but journalists and supporters holding banners reading “Stop persecuting Yulia” packed out the courtroom.

Tymoshenko's lawyer Olexander Plakhotnyuk said he would challenge the decision.

The former prime minister was jailed in 2011 for seven years for abuse of power and has so far served a third of her sentence - much of it in a guarded hospital facility due to back problems.

Her fate has been at the heart of a tussle between Kiev and the European Union.

President Viktor Yanukovych had been due to sign a historic trade pact with the European Union in November, and one of the key conditions for going ahead with the deal was allowing Tymoshenko to go abroad for treatment.

But the Ukrainian leader changed his mind at the last minute due to pressure from Russia and rejected the pact.

That move threw the ex-Soviet nation into its worst crisis since independence, sparking months of sustained demonstrations aimed at pressuring Yanukovych to step down.

Sapa-AFP

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