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Khodorkovskii Reportedly On Hunger Strike

Mikhail Khodorkovskii (file photo) 23 August 2005 -- A lawyer for Mikhail Khodorkovskii today said the imprisoned former oil tycoon is on a hunger strike in protest of prison authorities' treatment of his business partner, who is jailed at the same Moscow prison.

Ekho Moskvy radio station is quoting his lawyer, Anton Drel, as saying Khodorkovskii -- once the richest man in Russia -- had asked him to read a statement saying he is refusing food and water in support of former Menatep head Platon Lebedev.

The media is reporting Lebedev has been in solitary confinement since 19 August as punishment for refusing to participate in daily walks outside his cell and for "insulting" guards.

The statement says "Platon is seriously ill and has simply not been in a condition for more than a year to go out for his prison walks."

Khodorkovskii and Lebedev were sentenced on 31 May to nine years imprisonment following conviction on charges of massive fraud, tax evasion, and embezzlement.

Their supporters say they are victims of a Kremlin-inspired campaign to punish Khordorkovskii for his political ambitions. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the case.


See also:

Khodorkovskii Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison

Analysis: After Khodorkovskii, What Next For Oligarchs?