Khodorkovsky and Lebedev Verdicts Make Mockery of the Rule of Law

Chairwoman condemns the guilty verdict of Mikhail Khordorkovsky of embezzlement by Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court on 30th of December.[:]Mr Khodorkovsky and Mr Platon Lebedev are currently serving eight-year prison terms after they were found guilty of tax evasion and fraud in 2005. Today’s sentence comes only a year ahead of the expected release of Mr Khodorkovsky under the previous conviction.

Chairwoman Hautala condemned the show trials as well as the sentences strongly. The sadly inevitable outcome of the Khordorkovsky show trial deals a further blow to the rule of law in Russia and makes a mockery of President Medvedev’s modernisation agenda, she said.

To add, she emphasised that while the deaths of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalya Estemirova, Stanislav Merkelov and Sergei Magnitsky remain unaccounted for, the Russian judiciary and its kangaroo court has no such difficulty delivering a verdict in Mikhail Khordorkovsky’s case. It is simply not credible to talk of modernisation in a state with such a highly politicised judiciary, which openly flouts the rule of law.