Russian oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky's case and those of his former associates raises serious questions about the rule of law in Russia.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of Russia oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky's arrest. His case and those of his former associates continue to raise serious questions about the application of the rule of law and the legal system in Russia.
Mr. Khodorkovsky was at one point Russia's richest man and the founder of the Yukos oil empire. Once one of Russia's largest oil companies, Yukos has since been dismantled and its assets acquired by Rosneft, a state-run company.
Khodorkovsy and his business partner Platon Lebedev's first trial ended in 2005, and the pair were found guilty of fraud and tax evasion and sentenced. In 2011, a second trial found both men guilty of embezzlement and money laundering, effectively convicted of stealing all the oil exported by Yukos between 1999 and 2003.
The United States and European governments criticized the verdict.
"Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s first convictions there can no longer be any doubt that their second trial was deeply flawed and politically motivated," Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, said at the time.
Khodorkovsky's sentence is scheduled to end in about 10 months.
The United States remains concerned about selective prosecution, and due process in the cases of Khordorkovsky and Lebedev. All Russians should have the right to exercise their fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political views.