Ukraine's Tymoshenko to extend hunger strike: daughter
VIENNA (Reuters) - Jailed Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is heartened by international support for her plight and will press on with her hunger strike against her treatment, her daughter told an Austrian newspaper.
Tymoshenko, 51, has got an "enormous" psychological boost from calls for politicians to boycott the European soccer championships in Ukraine, which is co-hosting the event with Poland, Oesterreich quoted Yevgenia Tymoshenko as saying.
Asked in the interview, published on Sunday, if Tymoshenko would continue the hunger strike she began on April 20, the daughter said:
"Yes, that is what she plans. She will continue her protest - with all the consequences - until decisions have been made. This is her intention and that is why I am afraid. I really fear for my mother's life."
Tymoshenko, the main rival of President Viktor Yanukovich, was sentenced to seven years in prison last October for abuse of office after a trial the West says was politically motivated.
She is now in a prison in the city of Kharkiv, one of the tournament venues. She launched her hunger strike in protest at what she said was an assault by prison guards, an allegation denied by the prison administration.
Tymoshenko - who has complained for months of crippling back pain but refused treatment from Ukrainian medics - has agreed to accept treatment from a German doctor at a Ukrainian hospital, a doctor who saw her said last week.
The case has severely strained ties with the West. Some European politicians have cancelled plans to visit Ukraine on May 11 for a gathering on Central European issues in the southern resort of Yalta and some leaders are also threatening to boycott the ceremonial opening of next month's Euro-2012 soccer championship.
Yevgenia said Tymoshenko, whom she visited last week, was pale and very thin after refusing food for two weeks.
"Of course I told her about the boycott. That gives her strength, helps her enormously psychologically. The global support makes her strong," she said.
"My mother had not expected this enormous international reaction, which came as an incredible gift. Of course she too does not want the country to be boycotted. This boycott affects the whole country. On the other hand the conditions in our country in the end have to be corrected."
(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by David Stamp)
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