Ukraine court refuses to set Yulia Tymoshenko free

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A Ukrainian court has rejected lawyers' request to free former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on parole during her abuse of office trial.

Tymoshenko was arrested on Friday for contempt of court. She is on trial for abusing her powers in signing a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim was disadvantageous to Ukraine.

Tymoshenko has criticised the trial as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from future elections. She has refused to rise when addressing the court, as required, and routinely insulted the judge.

The judge today turned down two defence appeals for Tymoshenko's release as hundreds of her supporters protested outside.

The US and EU have condemned cases against Tymoshenko as selective justice.