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6 Feb, 2008 09:17

Defence insists Yukos ex-VP be transferred to hospital

A court has agreed to suspend the trial of a former Yukos Vice President while he undergoes medical treatment in detention. The defence says it will appeal against the decision and demand that Vasily Aleksanyan be transferred to a special civilian hospita

It’s not the ruling he was hoping for but, according to the prosecution, it might change if the chief doctor at the detention centre decides Aleksanyan needs to be transferred to hospital.

“This  issue  is to be decided by the chief doctor at the detention facility's  infectious  ward.  If  medical  workers decide that he [Aleksanyan] needs  to  be  transferred to another medical institution, this will be done,” said Council for the Prosecution, Nikolay Vlasov. 

The court ruled Aleksanyan must remain in custody saying that if he is released, he may attempt to escape, pressure witnesses or destroy evidence, despite his lawyers claims that he is almost completely blind.

The judge cited a specialist who confirmed Aleksanyan can receive medical aid and undergo full treatment at the detention facility. But he says nobody is giving him treatment there and his lawyer says they will appeal the ruling.

“These contradictions are very serious because it's not clear – and I want to repeat that there is a decision of the European Court concerning his moving – what it is. Is it a formal announcement that he will receive treatment, or will it be really accomplished? This is why we'll appeal this decision,” said Elena Lvova, Aleksanyan’s defence lawyer. 

His supporters include human rights activists and his former boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky who is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion, money-laundering and fraud.

They intend to continue a hunger strike to push for Aleksanyan's admittance to hospital.