Court orders transparency over knife attack on Khodorkovsky

A regional court has ordered prison authorities in Siberia to provide documents detailing an investigation into the beating of a prison inmate who attacked former billionaire Yukos boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky with a knife.

Alexander Kuchma, Khodorkovsky’s former cellmate at a penal colony in the remote Chita region, stabbed the ex-tycoon in the face in April 2006 but later claimed he was acting on the prison authorities’ orders.

Kuchma claims he had his “arm broken because he could not carry out the order from the prison officials to inflict a lethal wound on Khodorkovsky with a pointed object,” a spokeswoman for the Zabaikalsky district court said.

The court ordered on Tuesday that Kuchma be given documents from the official probe into the incident, which state media portrayed as personally motivated, following allegations that Khodorkovsky sexually harassed Kuchma.

Khodorkovsky was then serving an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. He had his term extended by six years in a widely criticized trial in December last year. It was later cut by one year on appeal.

In an interview with the online Russian newspaper in May, Kuchma said he “was as if being held hostage” in jail.

“I had no rights there,” he said. “All that was written about that incident with Khodorkovsky, this was all lies.”

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