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Ukraine's ex-PM Tymoshenko arrested

Acting on a judge's orders, police have arrested former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko during her abuse-of-office trial for violations of court procedures.

Her supporters in court, including national lawmakers, squabbled with police, trying to prevent them from driving her away in a prison car and shouting: "Shame! Shame!"

The charismatic Tymoshenko, the country's top opposition leader, has criticised the trial as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovych to bar her from elections and mocked the hearings.

She has refused to rise when addressing the court, as required, and routinely insulted the judge. Her supporters have repeatedly disrupted hearings.

Complying with the presiding judge's orders, police surrounded Tymoshenko and escorted her out of the courtroom.

The 50-year-old opposition leader is charged with abusing her powers by signing a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim was disadvantageous to Ukraine.

Tymoshenko insists she is innocent, arguing that the contract ended weeks of natural gas disruptions to Ukrainian and European consumers and that she was authorised to sign the deal as prime minister.

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