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Russian prison officials denying access to Khodorkovsky lawyers

[JURIST] Prison officials at Russia's Krasnokamensk penitentiary, which is holding jailed oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky [advocacy profile; JURIST news archive], is deliberately hampering the work of his defense lawyers, according to a statement [text] Tuesday on Khodorkovsky's defense website. According to Khodorkovsky's lawyers, prison officials have kept three lawyers from meeting with their client and have reduced their visitation hours dramatically. Yury Kalinin, the head of Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service, dismissed the allegations, saying, "Khodorkovsky's conditions are no different from other inmates". Khodorkovsky, the founder of Bank MENATEP - one of the first commercial banks in Russia - and former head of Yukos Oil [corporate website], was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in what many consider to be a politically motivated trial [JURIST report]. The US Senate [official website] adopted a resolution [PDF text] in November 2003 in support of Khodorkovsky, stating that Khodorkovsky "must be transferred to prisons with standards corresponding to Russian norms and legal practices." RIA Novosti has local coverage.

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