15:06 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Khodorkovsky press center slams prison officials over lawyers' rights

Russia
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MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - The press center of jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky said Tuesday that the administration of the penitentiary where the former Yukos chief is being held deliberately hampered the work of his defense lawyers and violated their rights.

The press center reported on its Web site that attorneys Albert Mkrtychev, Denis Dyagilev, Yelena Levina and Irina Khrunovsa, who last week spent three days at the Krasnokamensk penitentiary, in Siberia, trying to provide legal aid for Khodorkovsky, were denied a group meeting with their client and had their visitation hours reduced dramatically. Each of them was subjected to inspection before and after meetings with Khodorkovsky. The lawyers' files containing confidential information were also repeatedly inspected under the pretext of security concerns.

Yury Kalinin, the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, dismissed the accusations, saying, "Khodorkovsky's conditions are no different from other inmates'. All his rights are guaranteed to be given to him and have by no means been infringed upon."

Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison sentence for fraud and tax evasion.