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Europe

Former Yukos boss Khodorkovsky sent to prison camp

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-10

Jailed former Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was transferred from Moscow to a Russian prison camp on Friday, a security source said. Khodorkovsky, who has been jailed since 2003, requested parole last week after serving half his sentence.

AFP - Jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sent from Moscow to a prison camp on Friday, a security source said, as his lawyers accused the authorities of stonewalling his request for parole. 
              
"Khodorkovsky was sent to a prison camp," a security source told the ITAR-TASS news agency without elaborating on the exact location of the camp.
              
Both Khodorkovsky's wife and his lawyers were earlier denied a meeting with the jailed former Yukos chief on the grounds that that he was being prepared for departure.
              
Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev have been in prison since 2003 and were in December convicted of a second set of fraud charges.
              
Platon Lebedev's lawyers also said that they could not meet with their client Friday morning and were told by prison authorities after waiting for two hours that he has been sent to prison to an undisclosed location.
              
"It was some kind of a special operation carried out in order not to let lawyers meet with their clients," Lebedev's lawyer Konstantin Rivkin said.
              
Ahead of the second trial, Khodorkovsky was transported in February 2009 from the Siberian prison camp outside Chita where he was serving his first sentence to a Moscow detention facility where he has been ever since.
              
It is not clear if he is returning to Chita or another facility.
              
Both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev requested parole last week after serving half of their sentences.
              
"Legally (Khodorkovsky's) request (for parole) should have been reviewed in Moscow, but it has been held up and nothing was decided," said another defence lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant.
              
"These are inhuman and illegal actions," he told AFP. "The court and two prisons are acting as a system in preventing his parole request from being reviewed."
              
A group of rights activists have sent a collective letter this week to Moscow's Preobrazhensky district court asking it to ensure a "fair and legal review of the parole request."
              
But the court did not begin reviewing the documents and the Moscow court said Monday that it is sending an "insufficient" set of documents back to Khodorkovsky and his convicted business partner.
              
The request was sent again and only reached the court on Friday, just as Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were being taken away from the capital.
              
Another Khodorkovsky lawyer Yury Shmidt saw a plot behind the convicts' secret departure from Moscow.
              
"There is a behind-the-scenes struggle -- some forces don't want the parole request to be reviewed here," he told the Echo of Moscow radio.
              
The defence claimed that it would be easier for the authorities to deny parole if the review is done away from Moscow where any violations would be more likely to go unnoticed by the media.
              
"The real goal of these actions is barring the parole review from Moscow, where a denial on made-up grounds would elicit a public outcry," Khodorkovsky's press service said Friday.

 

Date created : 2011-06-10

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