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Russian Ombudsman: Medvedev To Be Informed Of Khodorkovsky Letter


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) speaks with ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) speaks with ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

MOSCOW -- Russia's ombudsman says President Dmitry Medvedev will be informed about a new letter in which jailed former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky declares a hunger strike, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Vladimir Lukin told RFE/RL today that he has a copy of Khodorkovsky's letter, which is addressed to Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev. The letter was delivered to Lebedev today.

In it, Khodorkovsky says he has begun a hunger strike and he accuses the courts of ignoring recent legal changes that allow people charged with economic crimes to avoid pretrial detention.

He added that he will remain on hunger strike until Medvedev -- who initiated the Penal Code changes -- is informed of the situation that Khodorkovsky describes.

Lukin told RFE/RL that both he and Lebedev will do everything to ensure that Khodorkovsky's letter is brought to Medvedev's attention.

Khodorkovsky, 46, was the CEO of the oil giant Yukos until his arrest in 2003. He is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion and is now facing charges of embezzlement.

Khodorkovsky and his supporters have said the charges against him and his imprisonment are politically motivated.
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