Nobel Prize winner, author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, has begun a global campaign in a bid to free jailed Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Radio Liberty reported Friday.
Wiesel invited 30 well-known and respected Americans, including two former national security advisers and experts on Russia, law, human rights and media, to discuss how to pressure Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin intto releasing Khodorkovsky.
"This is a meeting to help Khodorkovsky for he's a political prisoner," Wiesel said. "We all believe it's a political case," he continued. "He is not legally convicted."
Khodorkovsky is already serving an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. He is now accused of stealing $9.6 billion from the $15.8 billion profit generated by Yukos between 1999 and 2003, as well as 350 million tons of oil.
Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said in May that the new charges against Khodorkovsky were ludicrous and politically motivated, and that Putin's reaction "created the impression that the powers that be were exerting pressure on business."
Russian officials have consistently denied any political motivation behind their convictions.
Wiesel and his wife, Marion, held a lunch in New York on the eve of Medvedev's meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday.
MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti)