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Russia court denies medical release for jailed ex-Yukos lawyer

[JURIST] A Russian court Wednesday denied former Yukos executive and lawyer Vasily Aleksanian [defense website; statement] temporary release from jail to receive medical treatment, even as the trial was suspended to allow him to be treated for health issues. Aleksanian's lawyers had requested that he be admitted to a hospital for treatment for AIDS-related cancer and tuberculosis, but the court ruled that Aleksanian was a flight risk and thus should only be treated in the prison. Aleksanian was arrested in 2006 on charges of money laundering and embezzlement and was diagnosed with HIV a few months later.

Last month, oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] said that he was going on hunger strike [JURIST report] to protest the denial of medical treatment to Aleksanian. 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 insisted that the charges against him are politically motivated, although Russian prosecutors say otherwise [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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