Late Yukos executive 'terrorised' after prison release

10th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Yukos vice-president Vasily Aleksanian said in an interview released Monday a week after his death that authorities "terrorised" him and his supporters even after closing his criminal case.

Aleksanian, who essentially ran what was formerly Russia's biggest oil company after the jailing of its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, spent two-and-a-half years in prison while battling AIDS and cancer after his arrest in 2006.

His poor conditions in prison and denial by prison officials to give him access to medical treatment spurred an international campaign for his freedom. He was released on bail in late 2008 and died at home last Monday.

However in an interview released by magazine New Times, Aleksanian said his life was still unbearable due to continued threats from the authorities and added he was not allowed to seek medical help abroad.

"They give me hell every day. It's impossible to survive this," Aleksanian said about continued pressure from the prosecution and prison officials. "They terrorise people that work with me and try to help me."

"Authorities will not let me be," he said, without clarifying exactly who is making threats. "They told (my doctor): we released him, hoping that he dies within one year."

New Times journalist Zoya Svetova told AFP she spoke with Aleksanian several times in 2011 by phone and over email.

Although he asked to delay publication out of fear that his comments may harm imprisoned colleagues, the magazine went ahead with the publication after he passed away, she said.

In 2010, the case against Aleksanian was closed after fraud charges against him expired under Russian law. However the court never returned his arrested property, Aleksanian said.

"Simply speaking, they stole everything" that was confiscated, including money and a wristwatch.

Aleksanian also revealed that he sought a British visa to go see his doctor in London, but was refused on "idiotic" grounds that he "doesn't have anything tying him strongly to Russia" despite elderly parents and an eight-year-old son.

"My doctor lives in London, he supported me at the trial in Strasbourg. I need to go to London to undergo medical tests, to establish what further treatment should be," he said, adding that he has traveled abroad numerous times before.

"They probably don't want me to go there to die," Aleksanian said.

© 2011 AFP

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