Khodorkovsky defence files initial appeal: lawyer

31st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The defence of Mikhail Khodorkovsky filed an initial appeal Friday with a Moscow court following a judge's conviction and sentencing of the Kremlin critic, his lawyer said.

The preliminary appeal was filed with the Khamovnichesky court, which a day earlier extended the the prison sentence of Khodorkovsky and co-defendant Platon Lebedev until 2017, lawyer Karina Moskalenko told AFP.

She said the papers were filed as a precaution because the defence only has 10 days in which to appeal a court decision and Russia enters an extended winter holiday Saturday that runs through January 10.

"This is a preliminary appeal because we still do not have the official text of the sentence or the court protocol," she said by telephone.

"We are designating the fact that we are going to file a longer appeal" once the defence receives the court documents, she said.

The appeal itself will be heard by the Moscow City Court, said Moskalenko.

A Moscow judge found the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev -- already in prison since 2003 on tax evasion charges -- guilty of money laundering and embezzlement and extended their jail stay for the six years sought by the prosecution.

Lebedev's attorney also filed an initial appeal in his case, Moskalenko said.

© 2010 AFP

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