Former oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was imprisoned in 2003 on charges of fraud and tax evasion, was denied parole today after a judge accused him of “flouting prison rules.” The ex-Yukos boss was arrested following his vigorous and very public opposition to the Putin government. His company was eventually seized and auctioned off. FT:
Mr Khodorkovsky, who has served over half of an eight-year sentence for tax evasion and fraud while head of the Yukos oil corporation, is legally entitled to parole.
But the judge in a court in the Siberian city of Chita said Khodorkovsky, did not “deserve conditional release” because he had flouted prison rules.
Mr Khodorkovsky, who claims he was imprisoned to punish him for his opposition to Vladimir Putin, the former Russian president who is now prime minister, issued a statement saying, “The last five years have relieved me of any illusions about the Russian judicial system.”
The move comes as no surprise to seasoned Russia observers, who have watched whatever pretense of the rule of law evaporate under the Putin regime. Russia’s new puppet president, Dmitry Medvedev promised to implement legal reforms and combat the forces of “legal nihilism.” So much for that.
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