Tymoshenko, ex-Ukraine prime minister, to go free after 30 months in prison

Parliament voted to free ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison by decriminalizing the article in the criminal procedural code under which she was convicted, Kyiv Post reports.

A constitutional majority of 310 lawmakers from a cross-section of different parties, including the Communists, voted for the measure. President Viktor Yanukovych is widely blamed for ordering the imprisonment of his political rival.

Taras Berezovets, director of political consutancy Berta Communications, said that the legislation requires the signature of Yanukovych before Tymoshenko can be released, and that he has up to 15 days to sign it.

He said that while passage of the measure to free Tymoshenko is good news — along with today’s deal signed by the president and opposition leaders aimed at solving the country’s political crisis — it is likely to not be seen as a win by anti-government protesters who have been on Independence Square for three months, but a compromise.

“What they (protesters) want is for Yanukovych to be detained and prosecuted,” he said.

The bill that parliament passed included other articles of the criminal procedural code that were decriminalized.

Batkivshchyna Party lawmaker Oleksandr Turchynov, a close ally of Tymoshenko and her former deputy prime minister, said the articles were not cancelled but “are being brought in line with European legislation” in accordance with recommendations from multiple international institutions.

Tymoshenko has been in prison since August 2011 and was convicted for abuse of office stemming from a gas deal she brokered two years earlier with Russia.

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