Investigation into the Khodorkovsky “case” in Chita declared unlawful


Moscow’s Basmanny Court on Tuesday, 20 March, declared it unlawful to hold the pre-trial investigation into the new criminal file opened against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev in Chita.

The court thus accepted the argument of the men’s lawyers that the investigation had to be carried out in Moscow where the activities the men are charged with allegedly took place.

The court ruling states that transferring the criminal investigation to Chita is a violation of the constitutional right to defence.  The ruling has not yet come into force and can be appealed by the Prosecutor General within the next 10 days. However Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, Yury Schmidt, believes that an appeal is unlikely. In his words: “This ruling is superbly justified. I simply can’t imagine what they’d clutch at in order to appeal it”.

As already reported here, the new charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, who are serving long sentences for non-payment of taxes and fraud, allege that they embezzled oil to the tune of 850 billion roubles.

PL  We would remind readers of the lines from the letter “To those defending Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and other political prisoners”

“One doesn’t need to be an expert in procedural legislation to understand the legal absurdity of what is happening. After a year-long investigation and another year’s trial, prisoners already convicted and sentenced to many years imprisonment are facing new, considerably more serious charges, and this for the same financial –economic activities on the grounds of which sentences have already been passed. The new investigation is being run by the same people who four years ago “didn’t notice” what they are now charging them with.”

NB  This letter is still collecting signatures – the number of people who have endorsed it is already very large  (it can be seen – in Russian – at

The box at the bottom with the email address [email protected] can be used if you would like to add your support.

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