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Russian jail denies retribution against Khodorkovsky

[JURIST] Russian Federal Prisons Service director Yuri Kalinin said Wednesday that the transfer of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website, in English] to a larger cell with more inmates was "normal prison procedure" and not a form of punishment. Lawyers for Khodorkovsky said earlier this week that he had been denied access to newspapers and television and moved to a bigger cell as payback for an article [Russia Journal summary, in English] he wrote in a publication last week calling on various political factions to join forces against the Kremlin. Russian leaders have consistently denied there was any political element to Khodorkovsky's prosecution [JURIST news archive], but many analysts see the take-down of the former Yukos [company website; JURIST news archive] head as part of a plan supported by the highest government officials to eliminate a political opponent prior to the 2008 presidential election. Reuters has more. MosNews has local coverage.

8/11/05 4:32 PM ET - An English translation of Khodorkovsky's essay, originally published in Vedomosti, has been posted on Khodorkovsky's trial website. Read the full text of the article.

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