Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Kremlin To Ensure Khodorkovsky Is Not Released Before 2012 Presidential Elections

Posted by Info on 03/11/2010

The Russian businessman oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 on charges of fraud and sentenced to eight years in a Siberian prison colony in 2005. A new trial of Khodorkovsky and his Yukos partner, Platon Lebedev, began in March last year after prosecutors laid fresh charges of stealing oil and shares, and money laundering. A verdict is expected on 15 December. If convicted, the tycoon could spend another six years in jail after his current sentence expires in October 2011.

Political analysts believe the Kremlin wants to ensure Khodorkovsky is not released in the runup to the 2012 presidential elections. The 46-year-old, who has spent most of his confinement so far at a penal colony close to the border with China, has kept up a stream of diatribes against the Russian government via his website and articles in the press.

At the court Khodorkovksy accused president Dmitry Medvedev of leading Russia into stagnation, saying he had dashed hopes the country would become “free from the arbitrary behaviour of officials, free from corruption, free from unfairness and lawlessness”.

Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin claimed he was surprised by the second trial. “But if such a process is going on then it must be required by the law. I’m not in charge of that!”


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