Judge refuses to free Tymoshenko

A judge yesterday rejected requests by the former Ukrainian prime minister Julia Tymoshenko's lawyers to free her from police detention during her trial on a charge of abuse of office.

Riot police clashed with her supporters outside the courtroom after the decision.

Since the trial began at the end of June, Ms Tymoshenko has refused repeatedly to co-operate with the judge. She was placed in police detention last Friday for contempt of court.

Ms Tymoshenko, 50, is accused of illegally agreeing a 10-year contract to buy natural gas from Russia. She claims the trial is an attempt to bar her from elections.