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1 Feb, 2008 15:34

Freedom denied for dying ex-Yukos executive

Russia’s Federal Bureau for the Enforcement of Punishment is threatening legal action against the lawyer of former Yukos executive Vasily Aleksanyan. It claims her accusations that he is not receiving proper medical treatment are obstructing the course of

The former Yukos executive says he's living in poor conditions and can't attend court hearings because he's suffering from AIDS and cancer.
“Am I Jack the Ripper? Have I blown up a train or killed two hundred people? How can you justify what is going on here? There is no justification for doing this,” Aleksanyan said.
Nevertheless, a Moscow court rejected Aleksanyan’s request to be transferred to a medical centre, saying there was no evidence presented to prove it’s necessary.
Aleksanyan will have to remain in detention for the rest of his trial on charges of embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion.
The Russian Prison Service says it's Aleksanyan who is refusing treatment.
In fact some specialists say Aleksanyan is in much better living conditions than tens of thousands of other HIV-infected prisoners in Russia.
“More than 400,000 Russians are infected and 40,000 of them are in prison, and to my mind Aleksanyan is living in much better conditions compared to other HIV-infected prisoners,” said Vadim Pokrovsky, AIDS specialist.
Aleksanyan’s supporters
In Moscow, around 70 human rights activists are taking part in a picket to draw attention to Aleksanyan's fate.
Jailed Yukos shareholder, Platon Lebedev, has announced he's ready to make further confessions if this will help Aleksanyan get better treatment from the authorities.

Former Yukos CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been on hunger strike for three days, demanding better care for his former colleague. Then Khodorkovsky has stopped his dry hunger strike saying he will now only drink water.
Meantime authorities say Khodorkovsky could be force-fed if he refuses to eat.

The former Yukos CEO is serving his eight-year sentence in Siberia for fraud and tax evasion.