Ukraine Arrests Its Snarky Former Prime Minister

One-time Orange Revolution leader mocked trial on Twitter while in court

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Yulia Tymoshenko, who served as prime minister of Ukraine once in 2005 and again from 2007 to 2010, has been placed in handcuffs and taken into custody in what Agence France-Presse called a "dramatic twist" in her trial on charges of abusing her power. The arrest came after Judge Rodion Kireyev agreed with prosecutors that the "Iron Lady," as she is known locally, had engaged in "systematic violations" of court procedure "including impeding the questioning of witnesses." But it appears her online comments are what got under the prosecution's skin. "The prosecution had accused Tymoshenko of failing to take the trial seriously and mocking the judge and witnesses in a stream of comments on her Twitter account sent from her iPad inside the courtroom." Tymoshenko, a leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution, briefly served time in prison in 2001 on forgery charges. Now, she is "accused of sustaining a loss to Ukraine's budget of 1.5 billion hryvnias ($180 million) when she signed a new energy contract with Russia after a brief interruption of gas deliveries in 2009," the AFP reported. When the judge ordered her arrest, Tymoshenko asked that she be taken out of public view before the cuffs were put on. Her supporters shouted "Shame!" as she was led away.

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