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    EU blasts second Khodorkovsky trial as unfair

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    The European Union has expressed serious concern over alleged violations during the second trial against Russian ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev.

    The European Union has expressed serious concern over alleged violations during the second trial against Russian ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev.

    Judge Viktor Danilkin delivered a 14-year sentence to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev at the Khamovniki district court in Moscow on Thursday. With time already served counting towards this total, both men would remain behind bars for six more years.

    "Allegations have been made of irregularities in the proceedings, and these are a matter of serious concern and disappointment to us," EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said in a statement following the announcement of the verdict.

    The second trial against Khodorkovsky is widely seen as a political attack by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin against one of his political rivals, who financed opposition parties and pursued his own oil export plans.

    "Judicial independence and the right of each and every citizen to a fair trial, as enshrined in the

    European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a party, are of crucial importance to the strategic partnership between the European Union and the Russian Federation and rule of law is a cornerstone of the Partnership for Modernization," her statement said.

    Ashton added that the European Union would closely follow the development of the events in the Khodorkovsky and Lebedev case and would "raise this issue with Russia."

     

    BRUSSELS, December 31 (RIA Novosti)

     

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