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Khodorkovsky's lawyers urge to probe his judge

Khodorkovsky's lawyers urge to probe his judge

Lawyers for jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Tuesday petitioned authorities to open a probe against the judge in his case for passing what they believe was an intentionally illegal verdict.
Last December, Judge Viktor Danilkin added six more years to Khodorkovsky's previous eight-year prison sentence for stealing more than $25 billion worth of oil from Yukos, his former oil company.
Moscow's City Court postponed the hearing of the appeal for one week, saying it needed more time to consider the defense's motion.
The trial of Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, has been widely seen as a political punishment for challenging Kremlin political and economic power, and for threatening to sell off prized energy assets to U.S. companies.
In their Tuesday appeal, Khodorkovsky's lawyers described the verdict as "a continuation of an illegal reprisal " their client by "a gang of criminals."
They also urged the nation's top investigative agency to investigate the judge's action, after two court employees alleged in interviews earlier this year that Danilkin wrote the verdict under pressure from his superiors at Moscow's City Court.
The judge himself has denied these claims.
Russian news agencies on Tuesday carried comments by Moscow City Court spokeswoman Anna Usachyova who welcomed the lawyers' appeal and said the probe would help name and shame the people who she said were smearing the court. The court has repeatedly denied exerting any pressure on Danilkin.


Updated : 2020-12-03 10:24 GMT+08:00