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Tymoshenko in 'disobedience campaign'

02:38 Thu Jan 10 2013

Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko has launched a "campaign of civil disobedience" and spent the night in a shower of her hospital, a prison official says.

On Tuesday, Tymoshenko who has been sentenced to seven years in jail for abuse of power while in office and is in hospital for treatment for back pain, said she no longer recognised the country's judicial authorities.

The move takes the confrontation of the fiery former prime minister with her arch-foe President Viktor Yanukovych to a new level. In the past she had repeatedly refused medical treatment and announced several hunger strikes to protest her treatment in jail.

As part of what she called her "personal campaign of civil disobedience," the co-leader of Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution said she would no longer appear in court or cooperate with investigators and prosecutors.

"The time for my patience and tolerance is over," she said in a statement.

After making her announcement she moved out of her hospital room into the hospital corridor where she sat perched on a walking frame, prison officials said.

"She then moved into a shower room and spent the night there," said Andrei Lapinsky, a top prison official in the Kharkiv region where Tymoshenko is serving out her sentence.

Tymoshenko, 52, has been in hospital for back pain she developed after being sentenced in 2011 to a seven-year jail term for abuse of power while prime minister.

The charges were brought shortly after she lost a bitter election contest against Yanukovych in 2010.

Tymoshenko's conviction, which she calls a vendetta by Yanukovych for her political ambitions, caused a dramatic deterioration of Ukraine's ties with the West.

She is also being tried in a separate tax evasion case and has been linked by prosecutors to the 1996 murder of a deputy.

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