Khodorkovsky's hunger strike began August 19 - lawyer

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MOSCOW, August 24 (RIA Novosti) - Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky began his hunger strike with no food or drink late August 19 to protest his colleague Platon Lebedev being kept in solitary confinement, his lawyer Anton Drel said.

Lebedev, who had been sentenced to nine years in prison with Khodorkovsky, was moved to an isolation cell, said Yury Kalinin, the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service, but denied reports of a hunger strike.

He said every prisoner has the right to announce a hunger strike if prison rules are not broken in the process, but that a prisoner on a hunger strike would be under special medical control. If the prisoner's condition worsens, he would be force-fed.

Drel said Khodorkovsky had not reported the hunger strike earlier hoping that Lebedev would leave the isolation cell Monday.

He also said Khodorkovsky had not informed jailers about the strike because he had no claims against the prison.

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