Kiev (Ukraine): The husband of Ukraine`s jailed opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has fled to the Czech Republic where he is seeking political asylum, officials said on Friday.
Tymoshenko`s party said Oleksandr Tymoshenko -- a
51-year-old businessman with a stake in the Czech company
International Industrial Projects -- fled because the
authorities were using him to put pressure on his wife.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said the
application would probably be granted, telling state-run Czech
Radio: "It was clear from our talks with the interior minister
that the interior ministry has decided to grant the asylum."
Prague last year granted asylum to Bogdan Danylyshyn,
economy minister in Tymoshenko`s government in 2007-2010,
causing a row with Ukraine that led to the expulsion of two
Czech diplomats for alleged espionage in May 2011.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the 2004 Orange
Revolution, was sentenced in October to seven years in jail
after being convicted of abuse of power while in office.
She claims the verdict was ordered by President Viktor
Yanukovych in a case that has severely damaged ties with the
Tymoshenko`s conviction was quickly followed by charges
of financial crimes, allegedly committed while she was head of
the state power company in the 1990s, that could keep her in
prison even if the first case against her is overturned.
The second case also involves her husband, who spent a
year in custody on charges of embezzlement in 2000-2001 but
was freed because of a lack of evidence.
"(Oleksandr Tymoshenko) has sought political asylum in
connection with the growing pressure being put on the
opposition leader through her family," Tymoshenko`s
Batkivshchyna party said on its website.