The Khodorkovsky Sentencing Anniversary

This past Saturday was the third anniversary of the sentencing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, bringing the topic of his unjust imprisonment back into the news again. A group of 100 people, led by Oborona and Oleg Kozlovsky, held a rally in Moscow demanding the government to release political prisoners such as Khodorkovsky, a case which they say is a “link in the chain of attacks on Russian freedom, democracy, and on the principle of independent justice.” The big news of course is that a lawyer representing Khodorkovsky met with the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a St. Petersburg hotel to discuss the possibility of working with Russian authorities to have the prisoner moved from Siberia to Moscow (which is actually required under Russian law). According to the official statement on, lawyer Yuri Schmidt has confirmed that the meeting took place, but that it was requested by Steinmeier, and that they did not speak about any transfer – contradicting rumors in the media. “Steinmeier asked me many questions and since he has a legal background all the questions were of a professional nature relating to the details of the case. Among them we discussed the various ways in which Khodorkovsky and Lebedev could be released from imprisonment legally, not on exceptional grounds,” Schmidt said. Lastly, the Moscow Times is running a very good article about Khodorkovsky’s parents, and the extremely difficult conditions they must go through in order to visit their son.