Team Tymoshenko

It seems that in every football pool, I pick near the bottom of the first round. Funny how that works, eh?
 
The big guns were all beyond my grasp – again. So in Euro Cup 2012, I picked Ukraine.
 
Yulia Tymoshenko in her signature braids.
 Photo from The Guardian.

They are the home team, after all. Who knows? Maybe their fans will boost them past powerhouse Spain. Ha!

 
I suppose I could have picked Russia. Then I’d be cheering along with Bad Vlad.
 
Not that Ukraineis without its political woes.
 
Several European leaders are boycotting the matches because of Ukraine’s treatment of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
 
A Kievcourt tossed her behind bars for signing a multi-million dollar energy contract with Russia. It found her guilty of abusing her powers in making the deal.
 
But many say all that was hogwash; that the charges against Tymoshenko were politically motivated.
 
Evgeniy Zakharov, the co-chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, a human rights organization that monitored Tymoshenko’s trial, told Human Rights Watch that his organization viewed the case against her as orchestrated by the authorities to remove a prominent opposition leader from the political scene. 
 
Tymoshenko rose to prominence as a heroine of the Orange Revolution that swept the Ukrainealmost a decade ago. But her government floundered from constant battles with her allies.
 
Her daughter Eugenia said her mother was badly beaten up in April when prison guards arrived in her cell to transfer her to hospital.
 
Tymoshenko, who has staged a hunger strike before, refuses to be seen by government doctors. Instead, she has asked for her own physician or German doctors, according to a story in The Guardian. Human Rights Watch has urged Ukrainian authorities to afford Tymoshenko proper medical care.
 
My fellow football poolers decided we should come up with names for our teams. My friend Chrys is pulling for the Czechmates.
 
And I decided I will be cheering for Team Tymoshenko.
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