04/30/2013 05:20 EDT | Updated 06/30/2013 05:12 EDT

European court rules Ukraine's jailing of ex-prime minister Tymoshenko was rights abuse

STRASBOURG, France - Europe's human rights court says Ukraine's jailing of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was a politically motivated violation of her rights.

A Ukrainian government official stormed out of the courtroom after Tuesday's ruling in a case that has strained the former Soviet state's ties with Europe and the United States.

Tymoshenko, an architect of Ukraine's 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution, was sentenced to seven years in prison in October 2011 after being convicted of exceeding her powers as premier while negotiating a gas contract with Russia.

Tymoshenko says her jailing was intended to keep her out of politics and that her rights were violated. The court found unanimously that her detention in August 2011 was arbitrary.

It's unclear if a decision by the European court would be legally binding in Ukraine.

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