Legal Case of the Week: Mikhail Khodorkovsky

posted 14 Dec 2015, 05:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Dec 2015, 05:50 ]
On 7 December 2015 RFE/RL reported that Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former owner of the Yukos oil company who spent 10 years in jail in Russia on charges of fraud and embezzlement widely believed to have been politically motivated, said he had been formally charged in a criminal case involving the 1998 killing of a Siberian mayor. Khodorkovsky said the federal Investigative Committee had summoned him to appear for questioning on 11 December, but that he would not attend. Khodorkovsky said the summons did not set out the nature of the accusations against him. RAPSI subsequently reported that Khodorkovsky has been charged in absentia with organizing the 1998 murder of Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petukhov, and with the attempted assassination of Petukhov’s bodyguard Vyacheslav Kokoshin and manager of East Petroleum HandelsGes mbh oil company Evgeny Rybin. The Investigative Committee said Khodorkovsky would be put on a wanted list if he did not appear for questioning. Former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, who moved to Israel in 2003, was sentenced in 2009 in absentia to life in prison for the murder of Petukhov. Aleksei Pichugin, former chief of economic security at Yukos, was found guilty of murdering Petukhov and received a life sentence in 2008. Aleksei Pichugin is currently in prison in Russia. On 9 December, RFE/RL has reported, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, speaking in London where he now lives, said that a new revolution was 'inevitable and necessary' in Russia. In his speech Khodorkovsky predicted that President Vladimir Putin's government would be out of power in a few years' time.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, jailed in 2003, was pardoned by President Putin and released from prison on 20 December 2013. Both Khodorkovsky and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev had been recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience immediately after the two men's second conviction (for money laundering) had been upheld on appeal by a Russian court in May 2011.

'Khodorkovsky charged with organization of Nefteyugansk mayor murder,' RAPSI, 11 December 2015
'Khodorkovsky ‘Accused’ In Case Tied To Siberian Mayor’s Killing,' RFE/RL, 7 December 2015
'Khodorkovsky Says New Russian Revolution "Inevitable",' RFE/RL, 9 December 2015
'Russia: Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are prisoners of conscience,' Amnesty International, 24 May 2011