Lahm joins critics on Euro co-hosts
Germany captain Philipp Lahm joined the critics on the government of Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland for their treatment of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and called on Europe's football body Uefa to speak out as well.
Lahm told Der Spiegel news magazine that the treatment of Tymoshenko "has nothing to do with my idea of democracy.
"I do not find my views of fundamental democratic rights, human rights, personal freedom and freedom of press in the present political situation in Ukraine," Lahm said.
Lahm said it is inevitable that the political aspect will overshadow the championships Ukraine and Poland host from June 8 until July 1.
The opposition leader Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison in October on charges of abuse of power. She started a hunger strike two weeks ago after saying she was beaten by prison guards and is suffering from a long standing back injury.
Ukraine's government has allowed her to be treated by German doctors next week.
Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych has is under growing political pressure over the Tymoshenko issue, with several European Union governments threatening to boycott Euro 2012 games in Ukraine. Germany are among the teams which play all group games in Ukraine.
Lahm urged the ruling body Uefa and their president Michel Platini to apply pressure as well.
"I think he should take a stand. I am curious what he will have to say," Lahm said.
Germany are among the title favourites and Lahm left it open whether he would shake hands with Yanukovych at the victory ceremony if Germany reached the final to be played in Kiev.
"I would have to consider that carefully. But as far as I know the victory ceremony is conducted by Uefa people only," Lahm said.