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Khodorkovsky ends hunger strike as ex-Yukos lawyer transferred to hospital

[JURIST] Jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] ended a nearly two-week long hunger strike Monday as former Yukos executive and lawyer Vasily Aleksanian [defense website; JURIST news archive] was confirmed to have been transferred to a Moscow hospital for treatment. Khodorkovsky began his hunger strike [JURIST report] after Aleksanian was denied medical treatment for AIDS, accusing officials of attempting to coerce Aleksanian into making false confessions and assisting prosecutors with charges against Khodorkovsky. Early last week, a Russian court denied Aleksanian temporary medical release [JURIST report], despite three calls from the European Court of Human Rights to move Aleksanian to a medical clinic or risk violating the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text]. Last Thursday, however, Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service said it would allow Aleksanian to be moved [JURIST report] to a civilian medical clinic. RIA Novosti has more.

Aleksanian was arrested in 2006 on charges of money laundering and embezzlement and was diagnosed with HIV a few months later. Khodorkovsky was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in 2005 and is currently imprisoned in Siberia. Russian prosecutors indicted Khodorkovsky on new money laundering charges [JURIST report] in early 2007. Khodorkovsky, an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has always maintained his innocence and insisted that the charges against him are politically motivated, although Russian prosecutors say otherwise [JURIST report].

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