Ukraine refuses to probe Tymoshenko bruises: prosecutors
(KIEV) - Ukraine refused Friday to launch criminal proceedings over the alleged prison beating of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko and said her bruising probably came from her bumping into something instead.
Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said investigators in the eastern city of Kharkiv where Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence had examined all the material and decided there were no grounds for a criminal case.
"There is no reason to believe that she was punched," Pshonka told a press briefing.
"The evidence proves that what is written in her statement is not true."
The prosecutor's office had earlier concluded that Tymoshenko's stomach bruises probably came from "bumping into a blunt hard object" such as a bed post "but not a punch with a fist."
Tymoshenko claimed to have been punched and manhandled by three guards who were moving the 2004 Orange Revolution leader to a state hospital against her will on April 20.
She launched a hunger strike that day and her treatment now threatens to result in an EU-wide boycott of the Euro 2012 football matches Ukraine begins co-hosting with Poland on June 8.
Friday's decision came in response to a formal request by President Viktor Yanukovych -- a political rival who is under growing diplomatic pressure to release Tymoshenko -- to look into her claims.
The fiery opposition leader had earlier accused Pshonka himself of authorising the use of force against her and has ridiculed the prosecutors' investigation as evidently biased.
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