The following statement is being distributed via wire in response to the news that my client, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has once again been made a victim of unfair, selective, and cruel persecution under the guise of Russian “justice,” as authorities have placed him in solitary confinement for having given an interview to the Russian version of Esquire magazine. The translation of that interview with the famous novelist Boris Akunin is available here on this blog. Yuri Schmidt commented to the media that this administrative sanction is obviously and clearly illegal, and that Khodorkovsky has never violated any rule regarding correspondence and that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing of any kind. These kinds of incidents make it very difficult to take Russia’s leaders seriously when they talk about commitment to law and justice, and their preparedness to become a new responsible international leader in a multipolar geopolitical system. Below is the text of the press release, which can also be viewed on MarketWatch.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky Punished with Solitary Confinement for Esquire InterviewLondon, October 9, 2008 – In stark contrast to the Russian government’s recent declarations of its commitment toward law and justice, lawyers for Mikhail Khodorkovsky report that the country’s most well known political prisoner has been placed in solitary confinement as a result of a candid and courageous interview he granted to the Russian edition of Esquire magazine.”A country’s system of justice is judged by the facts on the ground, not only the stated aspirations of its leadership,” said Robert Amsterdam, Khodorkovsky’s international defense counsel. “This sorry chapter of Russian history needs to take a different turn, and the era of Russian legal nihilism must be brought to a close.”Khodorkovsky will be held in solitary confinement in his Siberian detention facility for a period of twelve days from October 8. This period of solitary confinement overlaps with Khodorkovsky’s parole appeal scheduled for mid-October.Esquire conducted its interview with Khodorkovsky in writing, through an extensive exchange of detailed questions and answers between the prisoner and the famous novelist, Boris Akunin. In conducting the Esquire interview, Khodorkovsky and his lawyers have always complied fully with all rules regarding their communications.Today a statement was also circulated by Khodorkovsky’s counsel in Russia, asserting that there is no legal basis to justify the prison authorities’ rationale for again placing Khodorkovsky in solitary confinement. Russian counsel express their hope that this incident will be reviewed by the judicial and administrative authorities and that the ongoing violations of Khodorkovsky’s rights will cease.The Esquire interview is available translated into English on Robert Amsterdam’s blog at www.robertamsterdam.com. The latest legal developments in the case can be read at www.khodorkovsky.info.###