Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago, the people of Ukraine held a referendum, overwhelmingly choosing democracy and independence.
Their choice was affirmed during the 2004 Orange Revolution, where, from Independence Square, came a wonderful message of a nation's people peacefully demanding and getting democratic reform. However, that democratic light is now fading as the newly-elected regime slips backward toward totalitarianism, abusing the very courts and laws intended to protect citizens, democratic and civil rights. The arrest, show trial, conviction and jailing of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is politically motivated, intended to prevent her candidacy in upcoming elections.
All free nations, along with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, must remain vigilant and continue to speak out against this abuse of rights and democracy. The President of Ukraine must be told that it is not just Tymoshenko he has put on trial but democracy itself.