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Russia court grants Khodorkovsky more access to lawyers

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] A Moscow court on Thursday granted incarcerated Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [MosNews profile; JURIST news archive] more access to his lawyers, allowing consultation with them during prison working hours. Khodorkovsky, the former owner of a Russian oil giant Yukos [corporate website; JURIST news archive], has been jailed for tax fraud [JURIST report] and is serving his sentence at a Siberian prison. In January, Khodorkovsky petitioned against prison rules [JURIST report] that allowed meetings with his lawyers for up to four hours each day, but only outside working hours between wake-up and lock-up. His lawyers successfully argued that under Part 3 Article 55 of the Russian Constitution [text] such restrictions could only be imposed by federal law, and that the Russian criminal and penal code only specified minimum lengths of meetings with lawyers, not the times during which the meetings can take place.

Khodorkovsky and his defense team continue to insist that his prosecution and punishment are primarily political, as he was a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a financial underwriter of opposition causes and was generally seen as a possible political rival. Radio Free Europe has more.

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