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Foreign Minister Westerwelle expresses regret at new guilty verdict in Khodorkovsky trial

24.05.2011 - Press release

Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today (24 May) issued the following statement in Berlin on the guilty verdict handed down by the Moscow appeal court in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev:

“I regret that Moscow’s appeal court has confirmed the verdict on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.
The questionable circumstances surrounding the trial once again cast a negative light on efforts to foster the rule of law in Russia.
Legal certainty is a valuable commodity and just as important a prerequisite for investment as for the people’s feeling of security and justice.”

Moscow’s court of appeal today confirmed the guilty verdict on Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. Their sentence was reduced from 14 to 13 years.

On 27 December last year, in a second trial for embezzling and laundering oil revenues, Khodorkovsky and his business partner Lebedev were sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, reduced by the eight-year sentence imposed in their first trial. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had appealed against this verdict.

The German Government has on several occasions expressed its concerns and doubts that the trial was conducted with due process of law. It has been receiving detailed reports on the conduct of the trial from the German Embassy in Moscow as well as its Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning and its Commissioner for Russia Andreas Schockenhoff, both of whom have attended the trial as observers. Members of all parliamentary groups in the Bundestag have also observed the trial.

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