Worldwide Khodorkovsky Solidarity Events Held on Anniversary
Published: October 26, 2013 (Issue # 1783)
Readings of extracts from Mikhail Khodorkovsky's prison writings were held on Friday around the world as a part of a series of solidarity events coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of his arrest.
Former oil tycoon and Yukos head Khodorkovsky was arrested on Oct. 25, 2003, on fraud and tax evasion charges and sentenced to nine years in prison in 2005 together with his business partner Platon Lebedev. A second case followed in 2010 that saw the pair convicted of stealing oil from Yukos and laundering the proceeds. They are set to be freed in 2014.
Khodorkovsky's punishment has been seen by many as a reprisal for challenging President Vladimir Putin's authority, with Amnesty International recognizing Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as prisoners of conscience.
The readings were organized by Berlin International Literature Festival and took place in Berlin, Paris, Moscow and other cities with more than 80 international writers participating, including Nobel literature laureates Herta Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Mario Vargas Llosa and John M. Coetzee.
During his incarceration, Khodorkovsky has published two books on his time in prison, as well as articles and letters on political issues, his correspondence with writers Lyudmila Ulitskaya and Boris Akunin, and a number of statements accusing the authorities of botching foreign and economic policy and persecuting activists.
Khodorkovsky has been awarded several prizes for his work in the field of literature and journalism, and prizes for his involvement in human rights activity. The solidarity events, including exhibitions, talks and performances have been held throughout October in Britain, the United States, and Estonia.