Moscow, May 24, 2011 – Today the Moscow City Court rejected the appeal of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and Platon L. Lebedev against the December 27, 2010 Khamovnichesky Court verdict which condemned them for allegedly embezzling the entire production of the Yukos Oil Company from 1998 to 2003 and laundering the proceeds. With the rejection of their appeal their scheduled release has been pushed from 2011 to 2016.

Khodorkovsky, who entered the courtroom to applause, spoke at today’s hearing about the verdict, asking:

“…in what dusty cellar did they dig up that poisonous Stalinist spider who wrote this drivel? What kind of long-term investments can one talk about with such justice? No modernization will succeed without a purging of these cellars.”

“There is no way to correct this verdict,” he said. “That means, – either overturn and terminate this shamefulness, or join ranks with the criminals, who spit on the law. I have nothing to talk about with criminals, even those in a judge’s robe. And indeed there is no reason for me to. I do not need mercy from criminals.”

Khodorkovsky said his fate was already determined but called for an end to the authorities provoking the Russian people:

“You know, what attitude many Muscovites today have towards your court. Yet the courts with their decisions, their attitude towards people, seem intentionally to provoke: saying it is not you who appointed us, we spit on you.”

“And so, you should not scorn us. We’ve had enough. We’ve had enough of arbitrariness, we’ve had enough of lying. We’ve had enough of bribe-takers and swindlers in power for whom anything goes and who don’t recognize any rules or authority!”

“There is no such thing as a rule-of-law state without an honest judiciary. Our people have already paid for the absence of a rule-of-law state with millions of lives. Enough! The destruction of law – this is the annihilation of the country’s future. This is treason. And there is no pardon for treason.”read more


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