Daughter of jailed Ukrainian leader target of 'hacking attack'
Thousands of personal emails sent to the daughter of Ukraine's imprisoned former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, have been hacked and published online in what appears to be a leak that is part of an organised smear campaign against associates of the jailed politician.
Over 4,000 emails from Eugenia Tymoshenko's personal Gmail account were put online on a specially created website, where they have been neatly sorted and categorised according to subject. Ms Tymoshenko confirmed to The Independent that the majority of the emails were genuine, but she claimed that some incriminating emails had been faked and mixed in with the real ones.
Eugenia Tymoshenko has in recent months become one of the key figures in the global campaign for her mother's release and in the fight against President Viktor Yanukovych, who is accused of increasing authoritarianism. The leaked emails ranged in subject from her personal life to dealings with Western lawyers, private security firms and PR firms working for her mother's cause.
Eugenia Tymoshenko said there was "a dirty war with no morals, rules or principles" being fought against her mother and those close to her by the Ukrainian authorities, led by Mr Yanukovych.
Emails purportedly sent by Hryhoriy Nemyria, a close associate of Yulia Tymoshenko, have also been published online, though the politician has claimed that they are fake, while her lead lawyer, Sergei Vlasenko, has been served a court order forbidding him from leaving the country.
"Of course I knew that all my communications were monitored, but I never thought that they would stoop to the criminal activity of actually publishing my personal emails online," Eugenia Tymoshenko said yesterday, speaking by telephone from Kharkiv in Ukraine, where she had just finished a visit to the hospital where her mother is kept under armed guard. "The hacked emails include private medical information about my mother, there is information about lawsuits which has to be kept completely confidential, and now it is all online. It is simply a criminal act." The website also contains personal emails, including from Eugenia Tymoshenko's British ex-husband, Sean Carr.
Yulia Tymoshenko was one of the leaders of the 2004 Orange Revolution and served as Prime Minister twice. But her government was riven with infighting and she lost 2010 presidential elections to Mr Yanukovych. Shortly after, she was put on trial and sentenced to seven years in prison in late 2011 on charges of abuse of office.
International organisations and Western nations have condemned the charges, widely seen as politically motivated. Due to a back complaint, she was moved from prison to a guarded wing of a hospital in Kharkiv. Last week she began sleeping in the hallway of the clinic rather than in her bed, in protest at cameras that have been installed in her room. "Mentally she is very strong and will continue the protest until the cameras have been removed and male guards are no longer watching her on the screens," Eugenia Tymoshenko said. "But it does mean that her back problem is getting worse."
Doubtful that prosecutors will investigate the leaks seriously, she said she will meet the UK ambassador to Ukraine to ask Britain to help, as the domains hosting the leaked emails are registered in the UK.