POLITICS
10/11/2011 04:08 EDT | Updated 12/10/2011 05:12 EST

Rally to be held in Toronto for release of Ukraine's political prisoners

TORONTO - A group calling for democracy in Ukraine plans to stage a demonstration outside the Ukrainian Consulate in Toronto tonight.

The Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine is calling for all political prisoners to be released in Ukraine.

The demonstration comes on the same day that a verdict is expected in the case of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko is charged with abuse of office over her handling of a gas import contract in 2009.

She says the trial is an attempt by longtime political foe President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from coming elections as a convicted felon.

Prosecutors want a seven-year sentence for Tymoshenko.

Late last month, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada told the government of Ukraine that it is concerned about apparent bias in her trial.

The United States and the European Union have also criticized the trial as politically motivated.