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Clinton sends jailed Ukrainian ex-PM message of support

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KIEV, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The United States sent a message of support on Tuesday to jailed Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, ignoring more accusations against her by Ukrainian authorities relating to the killing of a business rival 16 years ago.

Tymoshenko is already serving a seven-year jail sentence for abuse-of-office handed down in October 2011 after a trial which the West said smacked of selective justice by the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovich.

Authorities have since piled up more charges against the 52-year-old politician, the most serious being last Friday when Ukraine's chief prosecutor said she was also suspected of ordering the contract killing of a parliamentary deputy and businessman in 1996.

In a letter to Tymoshenko, text of which was released by her party Batkivshchyna, outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was following Tymoshenko's plight with great concern.

"I ... want to reaffirm that the United States supports your immediate release. I hope the New year brings new prospects for your release and wish you a return to good health," the letter, which was passed on to Tymoshenko via the U.S. embassy, said. (Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Alison Williams)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130122/clinton-sends-jailed-ukrainian-ex-pm-message-support