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Russian Court Rejects Yukos Bosses' Appeal Of Detention

Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky (left) and Platon Lebedev are escorted to Moscow's Khamovniki district court on August 19.
MOSCOW -- A Moscow court has rejected an appeal by jailed Yukos bosses Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev against an extension of their pretrial detention, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Moscow's Khamovniki court ordered in August that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev be detained in jail until November 17, when an investigation into the activities of the two former bosses of the shutdown oil company is to be completed.

The Moscow city court verdict on September 2 upholds that ruling.

The two men are approaching the end of eight-year prison sentences for tax evasion and other economic crimes. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev have repeatedly denied the charges against them, saying they are politically motivated.

A second trial is under way charging the two with stealing millions of tons of oil in the 1990s.

The defense had appealed Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's detention based on recent amendments to laws on detention -- recently introduced by President Dmitry Medvedev -- that ban pretrial detention of people charged with economic crimes.

State prosecutors argued that the accused face criminal, not economic, charges.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky's lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, told RFE/RL after the appeal was rejected that "irrespective of changes to the law, irrespective of what the high court says, the Moscow courts have instructions from 2003 which for them are a law...the low-placed [officials] won't do anything without the approval of the high-placed."

The Moscow city court will issue its reasoning for the rejection within 10 days.