Yulia Tymoshenko attended the first day of her pre-trial hearing today - in a courtroom the size of a cattle truck.
One report describes the scene thus: "Puddle of sweat on the floor. Dictaphones and camera slip from wet hands. Journalists, deputies, security guards, lawyers and others pressed tightly against each other. About fifty people are squeezed into the 40 square meter Pechersk courtroom. The air in the room is fetid, devoid of oxygen, and there's a smell of sweat. [See jacket of Tymoshenko's bodyguard, above]
Head of the European Commission to Ukraine, Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, who attended the court session, called the conditions in the courtroom where the Yulia Tymoshenko 'gas case' is being held, "inhuman".
"I just attended a meeting of the Pechersk district court, where the case against former Prime Minister of Ukraine has begun. I can testify to the inhuman conditions in which it taking place. A small room without any air conditioning was filled with a large number of people. There were also many people who could not get into the room standing in the corridor. But I think I was lucky. I stood at an open window and was able to withstand [the conditions] and even did not finish up in hospital because of dehydration, " said Teixeira.
Yulia Tymoshenko's attourney, Sergey Vlasenko, requested the court be transferred to a more suitable room. He suggest premises of two thousand square meters which were available in the Writers' Union headquarters nearby, free of charge.
Tymoshenko herself said: "In Soviet times, when dealing with dissidents' court cases, there was a directive - choose a small room where you cannot not invite the press or others to attend these processes. Your honour, I would like to once again urge you not to humiliate people today in this room, do not show contempt to them and their health. Look all those present in the room, look what condition they are in. Already several people have passed out in the hall. So I would like to support the request of my counsel. "
Judge Rodion Kiryeyev, [presiding over the case] said he will consider the request "at the appropriate stage of the process." As a result, the court hearing continued in the crush..".
Other reports claim there were over one hundred persons in the courtroom at one time, including a number of suspicious and moody-looking 'plant's who had been there before it had opened. The report estimates the entire 9-hour 'sauna' took place in a room of 30 square metres.
Ukraine's legal authorities have had plenty of time to organise this 'trial of the century'. But IMO their intention was to deliberately humiliate Tymoshenko, and subject her, and her team in court to 'inhuman' conditions - [dare I say "make them sweat?"]
Surely a twice head of government, well known throughout the world, whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, deserves better. This took place not in a third-world despotic African country, but in a member country of the Council of Europe, a country that considers itself 'part of Europe'.
Karadzic and Mladic are immeasurably better treated in the 'Hague Hilton'..
It is a humiliation not for the accused, but for the Ukrainian authorities and judiciary..
p.s. Brief Euronews video report here
p.p.s. Several unedited video clips of this 'kangaroo court in a cattle truck' here.