Newsletter Archive / A Month After Release, Khodorkovsky Thanking Supporters, Planning for Future

Copyright: CDU/CSU-BundestagsfraktionOne month ago to the day, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released. After more than ten years of unjust imprisonment, he was, finally, a free man. To all of you who have sent messages of support, followed the case down the years and ensured that he was never forgotten…thank you!

Khodorkovsky is free. The struggle for his values continues and your support remains as important as ever.

“THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS NOW: FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM!”

Khodorkovsky touched down on the tarmac of Berlin’s Shönefeld Airport on Friday December 20. He was met by former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who negotiated his release. A whirlwind few days followed of long-awaited family reunions, interviews and press conferences.

Marina Philippovna and Boris Moiseevich were reunited with their son. Pavel Khodorkovsky was reunited with his father, but not before Mikhail hugged the granddaughter he had never met. “My daughter just ran out to him. She got the first hug and the first kiss – but that was cool with me,” said Pavel.

“After 10 years, it‘s an unbelievable feeling of freedom” Khodorkovsky told Yevgenia Albats of the New Times in his first interview. “The most important thing is now: Freedom, freedom, freedom!”

Khodorkovsky emphasised that he will dedicate his efforts toward helping other political prisoners in Russia, including former Yukos colleagues Platon Lebedev and Alexei Pichugin.

KHODORKOVSKY SPEAKS – THE WORLD TUNES IN

Just 36 hours after leaving the penal colony in Segezha, Khodorkovsky arrived at the Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie, where hundreds of photographers and journalists from the world’s media crammed in.

READ THE FULL ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF KHODORKOVSKY’S BERLIN PRESS CONFERENCE

Khodorkovsky expressed his gratitude to all those who had played a role in securing his release but pointed out that his release was not the end of the story: “You should not regard me as a symbol that there aren’t any political prisoners left in Russia anymore,” he said, “I ask you to regard me as a symbol that when civil society wants to accomplish something, its efforts are capable of bringing about the release of even those people that nobody ever imagined could be released.”

Just prior to the press conference he gave an exclusive briefing to a select group of journalists, where he spoke “without bitterness or anger.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR PLATON LEBEDEV APPEAL ON JANUARY 23

As Khodorkovsky made clear, although he is free other political prisoners remain behind bars in Russia. On January 23, the Supreme Court of Russia will hear an appeal from Khodorkovsky’s friend and business partner Platon Lebedev. On December 25, 2013, the Chairman of the Supreme Court forwarded the appeals of Khodorkovsky’s & Lebedev’s defence teams for review by the Presidium of the Supreme Court.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky commented:

“I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court. I hope very much that the bureaucratic procedures won’t be too lengthy and will let Platon Lebedev gain his freedom sooner.”

Platon Lebedev commented:

“The only lawful decision would lead to freedom.”

KHODORKOVSKY THANKS NGOS; PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIS FRIEND & LAWYER YURI SCHMIDT

Copyright: Heinrich-Böll-StiftungAfter visits to Switzerland, where he and his wife accompanied their twin sons to school, and Israel, where he met with friends and former colleagues, Khodorkovsky returned to Berlin. He met with the Deputy Head of the Conservative Faction in the Bundestag and outgoing Russia Coordinator of the German government, Andreas Schockenhoff to express his gratitude for his support and restated his commitment to “using all the means at my disposal to help political prisoners and solidify the rule of law in Russia.” Khodorkovsky also met with MP Gernot Erler of the Social Democratic Party, who will be appointed as new Russia coordinator at the end of January.

During his stay in Berlin Khodorkovsky also met with Amnesty International and further NGOs to thank for their support around the world.  On January 19, Khodorkovsky attended a moving ceremony organized by the Heinrich-Boell-Foundation, at which he joined Arseny Roginsky from Memorial and German MP Marielusie Beck of the Green Party in paying tribute to the legendary Russian lawyer and human rights defender, Yuri Markovich Schmidt. Khodorkovsky underlined that the best way to continue Yuri Markovich’s mission is to support those who are unjustifiably imprisoned for their ideas and attitudes. Earlier this month, on the first anniversary of Schmidt’s death Khodorkovsky commemorated his friend and lawyer. “A year ago Yuri Markovich passed away,” he wrote. “We are to continue his work.”

READ A TRANSLATION OF KHODORKOVSKY’S TRIBUTE TO YURI SCHMIDT

As we pay tribute to those no longer with us, celebrate the freedom of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and call for the release of those still unjustly imprisoned, we appreciate your support on the long road ahead.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email