Khodorkovsky, the founder of what was once Russia's largest oil producer, declared a hunger strike on January 30 demanding medical treatment for former Yukos vice president Vasily Aleksanyan, 36, who has been diagnosed with AIDS and cancer. His demand echoed similar appeals from lawyers and other former colleagues.
Federal penitentiary service officials said on Friday that Aleksanyan, accused of embezzlement and money laundering, was transferred to a Moscow hospital under police guard. Khodorkovsky said the same day that he would call a halt to his hunger strike after the transfer was confirmed.
"I am sincerely grateful to all who responded to the shocking case of inhuman torment against an innocent and terminally ill person in an attempt to compel him to bear false witness. Seeing as Aleksanyan has been transferred to a civilian clinic, I am ending my hunger strike," Khodorkovsky said in a statement.
A Moscow court ruled on February 6 to suspend Aleksanyan's trial due to his worsening health. The prosecution had earlier insisted he should receive medical treatment in jail.
Aleksanyan said in court last week that the reluctance of the Russian authorities to provide him with medical treatment was due to his refusal to assist prosecutors with new charges against Khodorkovsky.
The latest charges against Khodorkovsky and his one-time business partner Platon Lebedev, both convicted in 2005, include stealing government shares, illegal oil trading, and laundering $25 billion earned from oil sales in 1998-2004.
Khodorkovsky has consistently maintained his innocence of all charges against him, saying that his imprisonment is a direct result of his support for Russia's tiny pro-Western opposition.
Aleksanyan is accused of embezzling about $330 million from former Yukos production unit Tomskneft and shares worth $493 million from other oil companies, and of laundering stolen assets.
Yukos collapsed after claims of tax evasion in 2004 which led to the company being broken up and sold off to meet creditor claims. The bulk of its assets were bought through liquidation auctions by government-controlled oil company Rosneft. The company was officially dissolved in 2007.
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We have witnessed the total defeat of western Ukraine, Western nationalists and the West in general, which made the unfortunate decision to support the anti-government activity. They failed to realize that the collapse of Yanukovych means the collapse of Ukrainian unity. They set fire to their own home and planted a time bomb under Ukraine’s territorial integrity.