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Ukraine's Opposition Leader Is 'Wasting Away' In Prison

Yulia Tymoshenko is "wasting away in prison," her family told the AP. Tymoshenko went on a hunger strike and her family said she was "bruised from prison beatings and afraid she will be force-fed by her political foes."

As we reported last October, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison when a judge ruled she had overstepped her powers as prime minister in 2009 when she approved a gas deal with Russia.

Tymoshenko is an important figure in the Ukraine because she was leader of the 2004 pro-democracy movement known as the Orange Revolution.

The AP adds:

"Tymoshenko appears pallid and worn-out in photos of her lying in prison taken by Ukraine's top human rights official — a shadow of the glamorous figure who once faced crowds in haute-couture gowns and golden braids. The pictures by Nina Karpachova show blotches on Tymoshenko's abdomen and lower arm.

Her daughter told The Associated Press that her health was failing rapidly.

"She was in intense pain," Eugenia Tymoshenko said in a telephone interview. "She is very weak, she hasn't eaten for seven days, only drinking water."

Voice of America, the official news service of the United States abroad, reports that German doctors who examined Tymoshenko "appealed to the president to let her be moved abroad for treatment."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.