Khodorkovsky defence slams Putin's 'interference' in trial
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's comments on the new trial of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky represent direct interference in the process, a defence lawyer said on Thursday.
"This is direct interference in the trial and direct pressure on the court," lawyer Yury Shmidt told AFP.
In a stunningly terse statement when asked to comment in his annual televised phone-in on the case of Russia's former richest man, Putin commented: "I believe that a thief must be in prison."
Khodorkovsky, already serving an eight-year sentence in a case that has become a rallying point for Russian liberals, is awaiting the verdict in his second trial on charges of embezzlement.
© 2010 AFP