Khodorkovsky to be transported to prison camp: lawyer

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Jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is to be secretly sent from Moscow to a prison camp later on Friday, his lawyers said, accusing the authorities of stonewalling his request for parole.

"Legally his request (for parole) should have been reviewed in Moscow, but it has been held up and nothing was decided," said Khodorkovsky's lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant.

Defence lawyers were Friday morning denied a meeting with their client on the pretext that he is being prepared for departure from Moscow. Khodorkovsky's wife was denied a meeting with him on the same grounds, Klyuvgant told AFP.

Neither family members nor the legal team were told where Khodorkovsky is being sent, as the law obliges, he added.

"These are inhuman and illegal actions," he said. "The court and two prisons are acting as a system in preventing his parole request from being reviewed."

Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company, has been in prison since 2003 and was in December convicted of a second set of fraud charges in his second trial.

Ahead of the second trial, Khodorkovsky was transported in February 2009 from the Siberian prison camp outside Chita where he was serving his first sentence to a Moscow detention facility where has been ever since.

It is not clear if he will return to Chita or another facility.

Khodorkovsky had requested parole on May 27 after serving half of his prison sentence.

But the request did not begin to be reviewed and the Moscow court said Monday that it is sending "insufficient" set of documents back to Khodorkovsky and his convicted business partner Platon Lebedev.

Their defence argued that the court had no right to return the request.

"The real goal of these actions is barring the parole review from Moscow, where a denial on made-up grounds would elicit a public outcry," Khodorkovsky's press service said Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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