Jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has declared a hunger strike to protest against the extension of his detention in a notorious Moscow prison, a Russian radio station reported on Monday.
Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, was arrested in 2003 after falling foul of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, and is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion after a trial his supporters dismissed as a farce.
Last week Khodorkovsky’s detention in Moscow’s notorious Sailor’s Rest prison was extended by three months by the judge in a second trial which could lead to him being sentenced to an additional 22 years on charges of theft and money laundering.
The Russian News Service radio station posted a letter on its website (www.rusnovosti.ru), addressed by Khodorkovsky to the head of the Russian Supreme Court, demanding that President Dmitry Medvedev be informed about the illegality of the decision to extend his detention.
“I declare an indefinite hunger strike until I get confirmation that Medvedev has received … comprehensive information” about the decision, the letter says.
Khodorkovsky last year went on hunger strike for almost two weeks in protest at the treatment of a jailed colleague who was gravely ill with HIV/AIDS. He ended the protest when Vasily Alexanian was moved to a civilian clinic.
Representatives of Khodorkovsky did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.
(Writing by Conor Humphries; editing by Andrew Roche)