Imprisoned former oil magnate and outspoken Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky has called on the head of Russia’s Supreme Court to overturn the second conviction against him.
Already in custody since 2003, the head of oil giant Yukos, who was once Russia’s richest man, was found guilty of embezzlement in December 2010, at a trial widely criticized abroad.
He and his fellow defendant Platon Lebedev are not eligible for release until 2016. Khodorkovsky’s two bids for parole have been unsuccessful.
“I call on you because the Yukos case has taken on a symbolic meaning for millions of businessmen, officials, and all educated and non-indifferent citizens of Russia,” Khodorkovsky wrote in a letter to Supreme Court chief judge Vyacheslav Lebedev.
“Regardless of your wish, the Yukos case and the court decisions concerning it have formed a body of practice which could hardly be described as ‘lawful,'” the ex-tycoon said in the open letter posted on his supporters’ website khodorkovsky.ru.
Khodorkovsky said it was in Lebedev’s powers to overturn the “unprofessional” ruling last month by a lower Supreme Court judge, which upheld his 2010 prison sentence.
“I call on you to prove that the Supreme Court is the place where justice is being done,” he said.
Khodorkovsky says both trials against him were politically motivated, a claim denied by the Kremlin.