FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Mikhail Khodorkovsky on hunger strike Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed former head of Yukos, has commenced a hunger strike in protest against the treatment of jailed former Yukos general counsel and vice president Vasily Alexanyan (“Alexanian”). In a letter to Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, published on his web site on Wednesday and reported by Interfax, Mr. Khodorkovsky declares his support for Mr. Alexanyan following reports that Mr. Alexanyan has been offered medical assistance if he testifies against him: “I am facing an impossible moral choice: admit to crimes I haven’t committed and save the life of a man, but destroy the fate of innocents who will be charged as my accomplices.”
“I have to abandon the legal framework and inform you that I’m beginning a hunger strike,” Mr. Khodorkovsky continues in the letter. “I hope very much that the agency you head will make a decision that provides Vasily Alexanyan with guarantees of life and medical care.”Mr. Alexanyan’s condition became life threatening in October 2007 following his diagnosis a year earlier with a fatal illness that required urgent chemotherapy treatment. Since then his physical condition has deteriorated significantly, extending to the development of a series of other illnesses, including the near total deterioration of his sight.“For some years it has become obvious that the Russian procuracy is conducting a campaign of terror and lawlessness against the Russian people. These deplorable actions have been documented by Amnesty and the Council of Europe. The treatment of Mr. Alexanyan, who has been denied medical treatment solely for the purpose of extracting a false confession, returns the Russian procuracy to its role in a different chapter of Russian history,” stated Robert Amsterdam, international legal counsel to Mikhail Khodorkovsky.“This hunger strike should draw attention to the outrageous conduct of senior members of the Russian Federation who should be held personally responsible for these crimes,” Robert Amsterdam continued.