CHITA, Russia -- A Russian court has rejected a parole appeal by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saying that the ex-boss of Yukos had failed to take part in a prison education program.
"Since the prisoner Khodorkovsky had no connection with the professional educational program offered him in detention, he does not deserve conditional early release," said Igor Faliliyev, the judge in the Ingodinsky regional court in the eastern Siberian city of Chita.
Khodorkovsky, who is serving an eight-year jail term for tax evasion and fraud, says he is the victim of corrupt officials under former President Vladimir Putin who wanted to carve up his business empire and who feared his political ambitions.
Russian officials say he was convicted for serious crimes and should serve his sentence.
His lawyers said the early release hearing was a test case for new Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has said he wants to improve the rule of law and end arbitrary legal decisions.