After 12 working days' reading, from May 16 till May 31, yesterday a Moscow court finally sentenced Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev to nine years behind bars. Another defendant on the Yukos case, Andrei Kraynov, got five years and six months suspended.
"We are ready to register the sentence against former head of Yukos in our Record Book as the longest-read sentence," Viktor Ovsyannikov, president of the Russian Club of Records, said. The club sends all its registered records to the Guinness Book.
According to Ovsyannikov, Khodorkovsky's counsel or relatives should apply for the registration and submit documents verifying the record: a receipt or the minutes of court hearings. A group of experts will peruse the documents and decide whether to register it as a record in the Russian book, he said.
"Then we will transfer the application to the Guinness Book, and they will decide whether the Khodorkovsky sentence is worthy of registering as a [world] record," he added.
Ovsyannikov said the Russian Book of Records had a special section for criminal records, but no entries for long-read sentences. Khodorkovsky, however, is already mentioned in the book, winning second place after President Vladimir Putin last year by the number of appearances in media reports.
The Russian Supreme Court could not say whether there had been as lengthy sentences in history before.
"We have never recorded such statistics," Supreme Court press secretary Pavel Odintsov said.