The Prosecutorial Bulldozer


Robert Amsterdam has a new by-lined article on the latest developments in the Mikhail Khodorkovsky trial published on the legal news website JURIST.

Rejection of appeal is latest example of due process failures in Khodorkovsky case

Robert Amsterdam [Counsel for Mikhail Khodorkovsky]: “This summer, a second trial is being carried out by the Russian government against Mikhail Khodorkovsky – once Russia’s most successful oil executive and opposition financier. As may be expected, the good news continues to come from outside of Russia, where some rule-of-law courts are able to fairly view the evidence. On May 21 the European Court of Human Rights issued a decision to admit a complaint from Khodorkovsky that Russia had violated three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in their persecution of him. Inside Russia, the courts have tended to ignore the defense and rule in favor of the State, most recently on June 1 when the Moscow City Court rejected an appeal from Khodorkovsky regarding his inordinately long and illegal pre-trial detention.

Prior to this new trial, Russia’s most well known political prisoner had spent more than two years imprisoned in an “isolator” facility (SIZO), which is an unusually long period for anyone to be held awaiting trial. The fact that Russia has broken the law to hold Khodorkovsky in this painful limbo illustrates several realities about the case in my opinion: first, the prosecutors have been totally incapable of fabricating a credible case; second, Russia’s political elite are likely in disagreement over what precisely should be done with Khodorkovsky; and lastly, there is reason to believe some hold a vindictive desire to impart as much suffering upon the prisoner as possible.

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