U.S., European critics assail Khodorkovsky verdict

Russia tells foreign officials to mind their own business

Monday’s guilty verdict against Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has resulted in an international relations row between the countries that condemn the decision and Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the case raises “serious questions about selective prosecution—and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations” and that it has “negative impact on Russia’s reputation for fulfilling its international human rights obligations and improving its investment climate.” Clinton’s sentiments were echoed by politicians in Britain and Germany. In response, Russia’s government warned the U.S. and critical European countries to stay out of its internal business. A foreign ministry spokesman in Moscow said, “judgments about some kind of selective application of justice in Russia are without foundation,” adding, “we are counting on everyone minding his own business—both at home, and in the international arena.” Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were found guilty by a Moscow court on Monday of theft and money laundering. Critics say their trial was a political one, and the guilty verdict is revenge for the tycoon questioning a state monopoly on oil pipelines and his financial support of political parties that oppose the Kremlin.

The Guardian

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