Khodorkovsky theft conviction upheld
Moscow's top court has rejected Mikhail Khodorkovsky's appeal against his conviction for theft and money laundering, condemning Russia's former richest man to another five years behind bars.
The judge at Moscow City Court reduced Khodorkovsky's sentence by one year, which gives the former boss of Yukos a 2016 release date. He was found guilty of the crimes in December, after a long court case that his supporters say was politically motivated and fabricated to ensure that he stays behind bars. The former oligarch was first arrested in 2003, and was convicted of tax evasion in an earlier trial.
Khodorkovsky gave an impassioned speech from inside the glass defendant's cage at the court yesterday. He railed against the political and legal system, and said the charges against him and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev were farcical. "In what dusty cellar did they dig up that poisonous Stalinist spider who wrote this drivel?" he asked of the verdict in his case. "I have nothing to talk about with criminals, even those in a judge's robe. And indeed there is no reason for me to. I do not need mercy from criminals."
In the aftermath of the verdict in the initial court case, a secretary at the court said the presiding judge, Viktor Danilkin, had been under orders of how to rule in the case, and did not write the final verdict himself. Mr Danilkin has denied this. Russia's tough-talking Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was asked about Khodorkovsky's case a few days before Mr Danilkin's ruling, and said: "A thief should sit in jail."
"There is no such thing as a rule-of-law state without an honest judiciary," said Khodorkovsky yesterday. "The destruction of law – this is the annihilation of the country's future. This is treason. And there is no pardon for treason."
Khodorkovsky's lawyers have said they will now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights over the case, and a group of Russian activists say they will petition Amnesty International to label Khodorkovsky and Lebedev prisoners of conscience.
The former oligarch has spent more than a year in a Moscow prison, but he will probably now be sent back to a prison in a far corner of Russia. He spent the majority of his first sentence in a Siberian jail, six time zones east of Moscow.
- 1 Stuart Baggs dies: Apprentice star 'The Brand' found dead aged 27
- 2 Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
- 3 1000 people played Foo Fighters simultaneously to try and get them to play their city
- 4 Every club should be like Labour – you can’t join as a new member unless you’re already a member
- 5 Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston says why he left the BBC series after just one series
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...
£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...
£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...