Defense Lawyers Claim Khodorkovsky, Lebedev Being Transferred to Chita to Face New Charges
December 22, 2006
Mikhail Khodorkovsky defense lawyer Natalia Terekhova said today that Mikhail Khodorkovsky was transferred from his penal colony to a detention center in Chita on December 20 in advance of the announcement of new charges against him and former business associate Platon Lebedev.
Moreover, Khodorkovsky defense lawyer Yuri Schmidt received a notification from the Prosecutor General’s Office today claiming that “on December 26 at 10:00am, your client Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky… will face investigations wherein you are entitled to participate.”
Platon Lebedev lawyer Evgeny Baru issued a statement that seemed to confirm the new charges. He said: “We have been informed that an inquiry involving Khodorkovsky and Lebedev will be carried out in Chita on December 27. I understand a new charge will be made.”
Robert Amsterdam, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s attorney, comments:
“This regime has lost its moral authority to dispense justice. If new charges come to light, no one doubts that they would be purely politically motivated. What needs to be examined today is the criminality of certain people in or near the Kremlin.”
Mr. Amsterdam stated that while he would be appalled by new charges, they would not surprise him. “They arrested an innocent man. They put on a show trial reminiscent of Stalinist tactics for dealing with political opponents. Defense lawyers were threatened with disbarment or deported. They sent Mr. Khodorkovsky to the gulag in a remote location in Siberia. They destroyed his company with absurd tax charges, amounting to eight dollars of tax per dollar of revenue in 2004. They forced the closure of his charitable Open Russia Foundation, the first example of modern Russian philanthropy. They sent masked officers armed with machine guns into the orphanage for war victims run by his parents, turning over every last stone in their search for his remaining funds. They announced the seizure of his house, threatening to throw out his wife and school-aged children. Should anyone be surprised by new charges designed to bury Mikhail Khodorkovsky?”