[JURIST] A Russian judge has ordered imprisoned former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] moved to a detention center in Moscow during an investigation into new embezzlement and money laundering charges [JURIST report], according to one of Khodorkovsky's defense lawyers. The court rejected the demands of prosecutors who wanted to conduct the investigation at the Siberian penal colony in Chita Oblast [Wikipedia backgrounder] where Khodorkovsky is now held. Khodorkovsky's lawyers applauded the decision Tuesday, saying that media coverage would be more favorable to the defense in Russia's largest city. AP has more.
Both the US and Khodorkovsky himself [JURIST reports] have lambasted the most recent embezzlement and money laundering charges as politically motivated, which the Russian government has denied [JURIST report]. Khodorkovsky was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in May 2005, and is now serving an eight year prison term. If convicted on the new charges, Khodorkovsky and his associate Platon Lebedev could serve up to fifteen more years in prison.