KIEV, April 23 (RAPSI) - Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko's request to be pardoned for her abuse of power conviction will be considered after the court proceedings end in the murder case she is currently involved in, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told reporters Tuesday.

In October 2011, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power based on a 2009 gas contract that she signed with Russia. She now faces accusations in a high-profile murder case.

Ukrainian MP and businessman Yevhen Shcherban was shot dead alongside his wife at the Donetsk Airport in 1996. The Prosecutor General's Office has alleged that former prime ministers Pavlo Lazarenko and Tymoshenko were behind the murder. Investigators claim that they paid $2.8 million for the assassination.

Last week, the Pechersky District Court in Kiev began questioning Ukrainian businessman and politician Vitaly Haiduk as a witness in the case.

Azarov believes that Tymoshenko should be highly interested in the earliest possible resolution of the Shcherban case. "I simply cannot imagine the pardon commission taking any decision while a contract murder case is being prosecuted," he said.

Last week, a group of lawmakers sent a new request to pardon Tymoshenko to President Viktor Yanukovych. The presidential commission on pardons is scheduled to meet in May, but it is still unclear if Tymoshenko's request will be considered at the meeting.