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Instant view: Reaction to sentencing of Russia's Khodorkovsky
Thu, Dec 30 16:30 PM EST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian judge ordered former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky jailed until 2017 Thursday after being convicted of theft and money-laundering, in a court case seen in the West as a test of the rule of law in Russia.

Here is some reaction to his sentence and that of his co-defendant Platon Lebedev, who will also remain in prison until 2017.

VETERAN RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER LYUDMILA ALEXEYEVA:

"This sentence is monstrous for these two honorable people and for the country.

"Certainly, the only thing we can count on is the Strasbourg court (European Court of Human Rights).

"The fate of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev and the length of their imprisonment depend on how long (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin stays in power."

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN MARK TONER:

"We remain concerned by the allegations of serious due process violations...

"Simply put, the Russian government cannot nurture a modern economy without also developing an independent judiciary that serves as an instrument for furthering economic growth, ensuring equal treatment under the law, and advancing justice in a predictable and fair way."

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL:

"The impression remains that political motivations played a role in this trial.

"This contradicts Russia's frequently repeated intention to pursue full adoption of the rule of law."

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN:

Putin's spokesman declined to comment on the sentence.

SERGEI OBUKHOV, HEAD OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF RUSSIA'S

COMMUNIST PARTY:

"If (the trial) applied to all oligarchs, and not just Khodorkovsky, one could talk about the triumph of justice. Our judicial system is not open, independent nor fair."

EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF CATHERINE ASHTON:

"Judicial independence and the right of each and every citizen to a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a party, are of crucial importance to the strategic partnership between the European Union and the Russian Federation.

"As emphasized at the EU-Russia summit on December 7 in Brussels, the EU expects Russia to respect its international commitments in the field of human rights and the rule of law."

JERZY BUZEK, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT:

"I am very disappointed. The trials of Mikhail Khodorkovsky were the litmus test of how the rule of law and human rights are treated in today's Russia.

"There is still a very long path for Russia to take.

"I would like to express my deep solidarity with the entire family of Mr Khodorkovsky. I met with his mother Marina Khodorkovskaya on December 15 in Strasburg. She is a brave woman whose courage and faith I strongly admire."

BORIS NEMTSOV, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER AND FORMER PRIME

MINISTER:

"The disgrace of the year is the guilty verdict of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev."

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE:

"I am deeply concerned by the implications of this case concerning Mikhail Khodorkovsky for confidence in how the law is applied in Russia.

"The U.K. calls on Russia to respect the principles of justice and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportional way. In the absence of this the UK and much of the international community will regard such a trial as a retrograde step."

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT:

"We call on Russian authorities to fully take account of concerns the trial created regarding the need for the demonstration in Russia of the values that are part of our common heritage: the primacy of law, respect of rights and fundamental freedoms."

LEV PONOMAREV, RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

"We see how, with the obscenity of despair, the Russian justice system time and time again fabricates charges and carelessly sends behind bars those whom the authorities consider dangerous."

SERGEI MITROKHIN, LEADER OF RUSSIAN OPPOSITION PARTY

YABLOKO:

"The sentence of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev was politically motivated, and this injustice means it must be repealed."

(Reporting by Ludmila Danilova, Denis Dyomkin and Amie Ferris-Rotman in Moscow, and the Brussels, Berlin, London, Paris and Washington bureaux; editing by Andrew Dobbie)


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