Officials must not comment on Khodorkovsky case: Medvedev

24th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday no Russian official should comment on a court case before verdict, in a possible rebuke to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for remarks on Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"As president, I think the following: neither the president, not any other official employed by the state, has the right to express their position on this case or any other case before the verdict, guilty or not guilty," Medvedev said in a televised meeting with heads of Russia's top television channels.

"That is absolutely obvious," he said, answering a question on what he thought on the Khodorkovsky case as a president and a human being.

The comment came just a week after Putin held his annual televised question and answer session, where he observed that a "thief must be in prison" and compared the jailed former oil tycoon to jailed US financier Bernard Madoff.

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

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