Russia: Amnesty International declares Khodorkovsky 'prisoner of conscience'
Date: 25 May 2011
Following the rejection of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's appeal against convictions on money laundering, Amnesty International has made a statement to declare that it now holds the former businessman, along with his colleague Platon Lebedev, to be a prisoner of conscience.
The group said that the court had failed to address serious procedural violations that had taken place in the criminal proceedings against the pair and called their trial "deeply flawed and politically motivated."
Amnesty's Director for Europe and Central Asia, Nicola Duckworth, said: "Today's verdict makes it clear that Russia's lower courts are unable, or unwilling, to deliver justice in their cases. The Supreme Court offers the last possible hope for justice".
Amongst the procedural violations cited by Amnesty were the harassment of lawyers and witnesses and the exclusion of evidence that might have exonerated the defendants.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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