Former UK Ambassador Calls Khodorkovsky Trials A Travesty Of Justice

October 23, 2013

UK Russia commentators said that the Khodorkovsky case is a travesty of justice, at a Henry Jackson Society panel discussion in the British Parliament today. The event marked the release of the Henry Jackson Society’s new research paper, Russia’s Descent Towards Authoritarianism: An Examination of the Khodorkovsky Case.

Sir Tony Brenton, British Ambassador to Russia 2004-2008, told attendees that The Khodorkovsky case is the best example of the abuse of the judicial system for political purpose in Putin’s Russia:

“I was in Russia for the first trial and it was genuinely a travesty of justice and the second trial was an even bigger travesty of justice. The very big test for the future of Russia will be whether Khodorkovsky is released next year.”

Ed Lucas, International Editor of The Economist, drew attention to the appropriation of Khodorkovsky’s company, Yukos, by Putin and the unfair trial conditions he suffered:

“The looting of Yukos and the bullying and intimidations during Khodorkovsky’s trials is emblematic of all the problems facing Putin’s Russia.”

John Dalhuisen, Director of the Europe and Central Asia programme at Amnesty International, agreed with the other panellists that Khodorkovsky had paid the price for daring to challenge Putin, but focussed more on the levels of corruption within the regime:

“The problem is that corruption in the Russia autocracy flows down from the top, so every single person within the system has to involve themselves in corrupt practices. In turn this strengthens the role of corruption within the system and makes it extremely difficult to affect it from the outside.”

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