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Moscow Court Continues Khodorkovskii Hearings

20 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow city court today resumed, and then again adjourned hearings, on oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii's appeal of his prison sentence for tax evasion and fraud.

Proceedings, into their third day today, have been overshadowed by a wrangle over who should represent Khodorkovskii after his chosen lawyer, Genrikh Padva, was hospitalized last week.

Today, the court adjourned until 22 September to await Padva's return.

Khodorkovskii's lawyers accuse the court of trying to rush through his appeal to prevent him from registering as a candidate in a December parliamentary by-election. He is legally permitted to run for office as long as his appeal is under way but would be barred if his conviction is confirmed.

Prosecutors accuse Khodorkovskii's lawyers of intentionally stalling the proceedings.

Khodorkovskii, the former head of the YUKOS oil company, was sentenced in May to nine years in prison in a case his supporters say was a Kremlin-inspired punishment for his political ambitions and economic clout.

(Compiled from agency reports)

See also:

"Khodorkovskii Appeal Hearing Under Way"