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Russia: Moscow Court Rules Khodorkovskii To Remain In Jail

Moscow, 23 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow court ruled today that Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii will remain in jail for another three months as he awaits trial on charges of fraud and tax evasion. After a two-day closed-door hearing, a judge ruled that the former Yukos chief will remain in custody until 25 March 2004, or until after Russia's presidential election.

Khodorkovskii was arrested in late October. His supporters say the charges against the oil tycoon were a Kremlin-backed attempt to curb his political clout and punish him for funding opposition parties.

The court today ruled that another top Yukos shareholder, Platon Lebedev, who was arrested in July on fraud charges, will also stay in detention.