Khodorkovsky verdict: France calls for rule of law in Russia
France said Monday that consolidating the rule of law was a necessary condition for modernising Russia, after a court there handed down a second fraud conviction to jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
"As (Russian) President Dmitry Medvedev himself has stressed, consolidation of the rule of law is a necessary condition for the success of Russia's process of modernisation," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said when asked about the verdict.
"It is important for the efforts undertaken by the Russian authorities to be continued," Valero said.
"Whatever the sentence handed down, the possibilities for appeal, internal as well as external, remain open. We will continue to pay attention to the rest of the process," he said.
France has criticised Khodorkovsky's trial several times this year and sent its human rights ambassador Francois Zimeray to attend a court hearing.
Khodorkovsky and co-accused Platon Lebedev were on Monday convicted of embezzlement and money laundering, dashing the hopes of Russian liberals the trial would show a new approach from Russian courts.
Once the country's richest man and now its most prominent prisoner, Khodorkovsky, 47, is already serving an eight-year sentence for fraud on charges his supporters insist were trumped up by the authorities.
It is not clear when the final sentence will be delivered.
© 2010 AFP