[JURIST] Jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] said Wednesday that he would begin a hunger strike [statement, in Russian] to protest denial of medical treatment to Vasily Aleksanian [statement], an imprisoned former executive and lawyer at the now-defunct Yukos [JURIST news archive] oil company, who has AIDS. Khodorkovsky said officials were denying medical treatment to Aleksanian, whose health is deteriorating, to coerce him into making false confessions. BBC News has more. Bloomberg has additional coverage.
Aleksanian was arrested in 2006 for charges of money laundering and embezzlement and was diagnosed with HIV a few months later. Khodorkovsky was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in 2005 and is currently imprisoned in Siberia. Russian prosecutors indicted Khordorkovsky on new money laundering charges [JURIST report] in early 2007. Khodorkovsky, an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has always insisted that the charges against him are politically motivated, although Russian prosecutors say otherwise [JURIST report].