Europe

Ukraine should host Euro 2012 - Tymoshenko daughter

  • 30 May 2012
  • From the section Europe

Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, has told the BBC the Euro 2012 football tournament should go ahead in the country as planned.

The competition is due to start on 8 June and will be co-hosted by Poland.

European leaders have said they will boycott matches played in Ukraine in protest at Ms Tymoshenko's treatment.

Her daughter said she "understood" the political boycott but added that "sports events should go on".

Ms Tymoshenko played a key role in the pro-Western Orange Revolution in 2004 and says her imprisonment is an act of political revenge by Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych.

The authorities have rejected Ms Tymoshenko's allegations. She was jailed for seven years in October, for abuse of power during her time as prime minister.

'More excuses'

"We understand the political boycott of European leaders who protect the rule of law, who respect human rights, who cannot go there and shake Yanukovych's hand," Ms Tymoshenko's daughter Eugenia said.

"But I think sports events should go on... My mother, when she was in government, fought for the right to host this championship in Ukraine."

Earlier this month, Ms Tymoshenko senior ended a 20-day hunger strike and was subsequently moved from prison into a hospital to be treated for chronic back pain.

On 15 May, her appeal against her conviction was delayed until 26 June, which falls near the end of the Euro 2012 championships.

Eugenia Tymoshenko said the delay was for political reasons, a claim that has also been made by her mother's lawyers.

"We know the regime is finding more and more excuses to stretch the time until the final decision can be made... so they can still be in prison for a longer time," she said.

"I really hope the situation can be solved before the championship. It's completely in the power of the president to release political prisoners and let them participate in elections this year," she added.

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