Jailed Ukrainian former premier Yulia Tymoshenko was being held in humane conditions with female guards specially detailed to watch her, an official said on Thursday, refuting claims by her lawyer.
“We are prepared to defend ourselves in court about this,” said Andry Lapinsky, a spokesman for the State Penitentiary Service, according to the Unian news agency.
Claims of her poor treatment in prison were without grounds, Lapinsky said, adding that Tymoshenko was receiving high-quality medical treatment in conditions of detention unavailable to most other state prisoners.
Only female guards had been detailed to watch Tymoshenko during her medical treatment and she was not videotaped as the procedures were performed, he said.
Tymoshenko's lawyer, Sergei Vlasenko, on Wednesday filed a suit against the national prison system for videotaping the opposition leader while she was receiving medical treatment, and making public details of her treatment schedule, the report said.
The hospital room where Tymoshenko sleeps was under video surveillance in accordance with the law, and a Monday release to the public of general details of her treatment programme violated no statute, Lapinsky said.
A Kiev court in October sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison on abuse of office charges connected to a natural gas deal signed with Russia when she was in office. She has denied all wrongdoing.
She is receiving treatment at a hospital in Kharkiv, in eastern Ukraine, for a longstanding back problem and the effects of a hunger strike she ended in April. - Sapa-dpa