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Swiss willing to help in Tymoshenko case

Tymoshenko's sentencing angered her supporters.

Switzerland is prepared to mediate between Ukraine and the European Union over the case of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose alleged mistreatment in jail has led to calls for a boycott of the Euro 2012 football championship.

In an interview with two of Sunday’s German-language newspapers, the NZZ am Sonntag and Sonntag, Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter also said it would be possible for Tymoshenko to be treated in a Swiss hospital, as many members of parliament have suggested.

But he said the main thing was not where she was treated, but that she should be “given the rights she should have”.

However, he came out against a boycott of the football championship, which is to be co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland this summer.

“I do not believe that threats of a boycott are very helpful in such a situation,” he said. “I hope a solution can be found that is in accordance with human rights.”

He added that Switzerland has been in contact with the Ukrainian authorities over the Tymoshenko case for several months.

Boycott dispute

On May 1, Swiss Sports Minister Ueli Maurer also made it known that he would not join EU politicians in a boycott of the championship, and would be attending the opening match between Greece and Poland in Warsaw on June 8.

However, he was not in any case scheduled to go to any matches being played in Ukraine.

Switzerland failed to win a place in the last 16 and is therefore not playing.

Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year jail sentence for abuse of office in a case the West and her supporters say is politically motivated.

She is suffering from a slipped disc, and says she has been subjected to violence in prison.

She had been demanding to be allowed to go to Berlin for medical treatment, but on Friday let it be known she was willing to be treated in Ukraine, as long as a German doctor was present.

Germany has led calls for top European government officials to boycott championship matches held in Ukraine unless Tymoshenko is released to undergo medical treatment abroad.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR