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Tymoshenko husband given asylum

The husband of jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been granted political asylum in the Czech Republic.

A lawyer said Oleksandr Tymoshenko left his country because its government has launched a criminal investigation against him.

Last year, the Czech Republic angered Ukraine by granting asylum to another ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, and the decision to do that with her husband is likely to further strain the countries' relations.

The Czech Interior Ministry refused to provide details about the decision.

Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine's top opposition leader and a former presidential candidate, was sentenced to seven years in jail in October in a trial the West has condemned as politically motivated.

She has reportedly been in poor health and denied medical care while locked up in a Kiev, Ukraine, prison before she was taken to a remote prison colony in the city of Kharkiv.

In December, the European Union stalled over signing a landmark co-operation agreement with Ukraine over the jailing of Tymoshenko.

In Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko's lawyer said Oleksandr Tymoshenko is being targeted in an ongoing probe into his wife's business activities when she owned a top Ukraine energy company.

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