The following is the full text of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s public statement before his parole hearing today, which has since been delayed.
“HONOURABLE COURT, YOUR HONOUR,” I am submitting this parole application to you because I believe that the positive decision on this issue will be just and lawful in all respects: for the society, for which I can do much more good if I am free than if I am in jail, for my family, and for myself. THE FORMAL REQUIREMENT allowing [the court] to make a decision to release me on parole has been met since I have served more than a half of the sentence given to me. The main and substantive requirement the existence of which the court should establish lies in the absence of the need to continue serving the sentence any further. And this requirement has been met in full conformance with the spirit and letter of Law.
I am a law-abiding person owing to my internal beliefs; this has also been indicated in the original letter of reference concerning me that has been submitted to the court. Even when a law seems to me to be unjust, I, as a law-abiding citizen, first of all abide by this law. Simultaneously, I fight for its repeal or amendment as much as possible.For almost five years of my imprisonment, I have been abiding by all the rules of conduct. Not even once did I give anybody any real reason to believe that I do not meet lawful requirements that apply to me, whether they concern work, the internal order, my relationships with the administration or whatsoever else.That is exactly why during the last 10 months, when no artificial attempts were made to invent some violations allegedly committed on my part, there were no official complaints of me either.However, on Friday the prison governor visited my cell. Obviously, not on his own accord. And on Monday I learnt that there were complaints of me – false and ludicrous.Firstly, I allegedly refused to inform the SIZO governor how many people were in my cell. I REFUSED TO INFORM HIM! I am informing [him]: two (one and two).Secondly, the drinking water tank cover was allegedly dirty. While not even once was special drinking water provided here in the prison.I have arrived to the court from the karzer [punishment dungeon].Who and why needed to portray our authorities like this at this particular time? It would have been unacceptable for me. I am glad that it turned out to be unacceptable for the prosecutor’s office as well.Let me return to the main subject. I am still convinced that the verdict in my case was unjust, and that is why I, using my constitutional right, am disputing it exclusively by lawful means. My exercising of this right cannot constitute a lawful ground to refuse parole.I have spent almost five years in prison, and people are entitled to ask me whether I regret doing what I have done, whether I have re-paid the damages and whether I am ready to re-pay them?!Of course I am very much distressed both for people who are suffering without guilt due to my prosecution and for my near and dear ones. And I am ready to do everything possible and impossible to make their situation easier.However, I cannot repent crimes that did not exist. I cannot do this not only because of my belief in the unjustness of the verdict but also because of my fear for the fate of many other people who have become hostages of the situation related to my conviction.As concerns repentance of sinful deeds that I, as everybody, happened to have committed, such repentance is a constant companion of any normal human being. And in any case, it does not require a person to be held behind bars.As to the damages, it should be clarified that prior to my arrest Yukos was worth about 40 billion US dollars. Today, I no longer own anything. If somebody believes that some additional damages have been inflicted, after completion of the story with Yukos they have been repaid with a vengeance.And one more important detail.An attempt was made during the trial to re-pay the pseudo personal tax arrears for me. The Meshchansky Court of the City of Moscow did not accept that money without offering any reasons and did not even issue any documentary proof of its arrival but did not return [the money] either. A lot was said about this at that time, and my lawyers will talk about this here, too.Nothing more can be taken from me personally, however long I am held in custody.Here is one more important question, which, as far as I know, is being asked by many people and which the court can ask, too: what priorities am I going to live with if I am free and what am I going to do?Here is what I want to say in this regard.I have always worked hard. I have built the best and biggest company in the country. I helped people, and first of all – children.I do not feel ashamed of my work. My 25 years of work experience and my big family as well as my personal priorities in life which I have already articulated serve as a guarantee that I shall be established in the life.I do not like to destroy, have never done so and am not going to do so in future. On the contrary, I have always tried to create something. I have succeeded in many things, and I hope to succeed in many more in future.Upon my release, I am not going to return to the oil and gas business and seek a revision of unjust decisions concerning Yukos. I intend to devote myself to humanitarian projects and, most importantly, to be a family man: I have four children, three of them minors, who have not seen their father for five years already, maybe for the five most important years of their young lives.I have people and good deeds to devote my experience and my efforts to, and I ask the court for only one thing – in full compliance with the law – to give me such an opportunity.Thank you.”