Mikhail Khodorkovsky in his own words

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Since his detention in 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has shown many times that he remains as outspoken in prison as he was before his incarceration. Following are some of his most notable statements.

"Those whom destiny and history gave the role of protecting liberal values in our country have failed.... From where I find myself, in a cell in Penal Detention Centre No. 4, this is more visible perhaps than from more comfortable surroundings."

(March 2004 - article "The crisis of liberalism in Russia")

"The New Year's holiday is a sad thing in prison. Silent."

(December 29, 2004 - answering a question on Internet site khodorkovsky.ru)

"I know that my sentence was decided in the Kremlin. In the president's entourage, some insisted that only an acquittal would give the public confidence in authorities. Others believed that I should be put in prison for a long time so I would lose the will to live, for freedom and to fight. I want to thank the first group and point out to the others that they have not won."

(May 2005 - statement after his conviction)

"What will follow is absolutely clear. Falsified evidence, testimony by perjurers who have been frightened or tricked, and a quick guilty verdict -- a shameful farce that has nothing in common with justice."

(February 2007 - statement after fresh charges are laid)

"I am accused of having physically stolen 350 million tonnes of oil as if it were a bucket of paint stolen by a storekeeper from a warehouse or a piece of sausage taken by a salesman out of a shop under his coat...

These geniuses of detection and law are talking seriously about 350 million tonnes, that is enough to fill a train that would stretch three times around the equator... (April 2009 - statement at the opening of his second trial)

"In Russia, national heroes as a rule are dead. I still want to live. It's true I sometimes get sick of it and think: why not be a hero?"

(October 2009 - answering questions from readers of online news site gazeta.ru)

"To admit guilt for nonexistent crimes is unacceptable to me."

(August 2009 - an interview with Russian Newsweek)

"I am sure that you are qualified, that you will understand that all the prosecution's statements are complete nonsense."

(October 2010 - addressing the judge in his latest trial)

"Millions of people are watching this case hoping that the rule of law will triumph in the country. I don't want to die in prison, but my belief is worth my life."

(November 2010 - addressing the judge in his final speech at the trial)

© 2010 AFP

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