Khodorkovsky theft conviction upheld

 

Moscow

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones