Political Football: Ex-PM's Jailing Sparks Euro 2012 Boycott
PHOTO: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko appears during a trial hearing at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Ukraine, in this June 29, 2011 file photo.

Credit: Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

The Euro 2012 soccer tournament is helping bring to light the controversy surrounding former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's imprisonment on what her supporters say are trumped up charges.

Tymoshenko, 51, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 for allegedly abusing her power and is currently serving her sentence. The European Union condemned the conviction, calling it "selective justice."

Tymoshenko claimed she was severely beaten by prison guards, and has been on a hunger strike since April 20 in protest of her alleged mistreatment.

"She's been on a hunger strike for 15 days," Tymoshenko's aide Alexander Turchinov said Friday, according to The Associated Press. "Her life is in real danger."

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said Friday that there are no grounds for Tymoshenko's claims.

"We do not rule out that she hurt herself deliberately. We cannot make any conclusion without forensic medical examination, which she did not give consent for," he said, according to the AP.

Pshonka denied Tymoshenko's request to launch a criminal investigation against those who allegedly mistreated her.

Tymoshenko, who has a herniated disc, refused to be treated by Ukrainian doctors, but agreed to begin medical treatment Tuesday at a hospital near the prison under the supervision of a German doctor.

German and Russian officials have offered to treat Tymoshenko in their respective countries, but Ukrianian law does not allow prisoners to leave the country for medical treatment.

Ukraine is scheduled to co-host the Euro 2012 Championship with Poland beginning in June, but European officials are now talking about boycotting the games Ukraine is hosting.

Austrian and Belgian officials have said they will not attend the games held in Ukraine. Officials in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and other countries are also considering boycotting the month-long event in protest against Tymoshenko's alleged mistreatment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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