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MEPs send letter in support of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to Russian President Medvedev


13 Dec 2010


Global Europe

A cross-party coalition of MEPs has used today's Human Rights Day (10 December) to send a letter to Russia's President Dimitry Medvedev, highlighting the ongoing persecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

ALDE MEP Graham Watson (Liberal Democrat MEP, UK), who is leading the initiative to raise the profile of the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev trial, said:
"The Human Rights Day is an important occasion to reposition human rights abuses at the forefront of the political agenda.

"There is a clear consensus among objective observers of the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev trials that their ongoing persecution is unjust and not truly motivated by law.

"In our letter to Mr Medvedev we express our hopes that the expected conclusion of the Khodorkovsky-Lebedev case will strictly adhere to the principles of the rule of law.

"Russia's place in the world greatly depends on its robust respect for the rule of law and citizens' fundamental human rights. Stable and reliable partnerships with Russia can only exist and be developed when human rights and property rights are secured and justice prevails over corruption.

"Ending the persecution of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and properly investigating the cases of many other victims seeking justice in Russia would send positive signals of change and show that Russia is on the path towards modernisation."

Note to Editors:

In 2005, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev were sent to prison controversially for fraud and tax evasion. Objective observers of the trial say it was politically motivated. In 2009, a second trial against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev began. Charged with embezzlement and money laundering, the two men face up to 22 years more in prison. The trial concluded on November 2nd, a verdict is expected to be delivered on 15th December.

ALDE MEPs who have signed the letter to President Medvedev include:

• Graham Watson (ALDE)
• Kristiina Ojuland (ALDE)
• Catherine BEARDER (ALDE)
• George LYON (ALDE)
• Renate WEBER (ALDE)
• Cristian Silviu BUŞOI (ALDE)
• Marian HARKIN (ALDE)

For more information, please contact / Pour de plus amples informations, veuillez contacter:
Corlett Neil - Tel: +32 2 284 20 77 Mob: +32 478 78 22 84
Angelika Schneider - Tel: +32 2 2 284 10 19 Mob: +44 7950 184 194