September 23, 2005


Last evening, the Khodorkovsky case was brought to a hurried close when the imprisoned oligarch's appeal was summarily rejected just as K's sentence (and that of his codefendant) were reduced to eight years.

"I won't live that long," K commented on leaving the court.

"What we are dealing with here is not the prosecutors or the judges, it is the full weight of the state machine. The political authorities are dictating what is going on here," the Moscow Times reported K's lawyer, Yuri Schmidt.

"Shmidt, we are hearing a criminal case, not politics ... a normal criminal case," Chief Judge Vyacheslov Tarasov said.

Yes, an absolutely normal criminal case. Who could possibly think anything differently.

The closing of the appeal also shut down K's attempts to run for a seat in the Duma. Election officials said they had not received K's registration papers, even though he had mailed them from prison several days before. Lost in the mail? Surely that must be the case, because this is, after all, an absolutely normal criminal case.


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