Russia's Khodorkovsky appeals new jail term
Russia's former richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky was Tuesday appealing his conviction in a second fraud trial that sparked global condemnation and will likely keep him in jail until 2017.
The hearing comes after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week that Khodorkovsky would pose "absolutely" no danger to society if he were set free.
The Moscow City Court had been initially scheduled to hold the appeal hearing last week but unexpectedly delayed it.
The defence connected the appeal hearing's sudden move with Medvedev's news conference last week, his first solo public meeting with the media of his presidency.
Asked about the danger Khodorkovsky would pose if he were set free, Medvedev told reporters curtly: "You asked a short question and the answer will be brief as well: absolutely none," Medvedev said.
Khodorkovsky was convicted last year in a second fraud trial in a ruling which is expected to keep him in jail until 2017.
Khodorkovsky, who built up Yukos into Russia's biggest oil firm before it was broken up by the state, was in December found guilty of money laundering and embezzlement on top of his first 2005 tax evasion conviction.
His supporters have long argued both sets of charges were trumped up by the state to punish Khodorkovsky for financing the opposition to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who then served as president, and ridiculed the circumstances of the second trial.
© 2011 AFP