[JURIST] The Moscow City Court [official backgrounder] on Monday rejected the appeals of former Yukos [JURIST news archive] chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] and his former business partner Platon Lebedev [defense website]. The court dismissed all appeals [RIA Novosti report] from the preliminary hearings concerning the second set of embezzlement, oil theft, and money laundering charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev except for the appeal to keep the two men in custody. The lawyer handling the appeal has stated that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are victims of politically-motivated detention and that the petitioners intend to appeal Monday's ruling in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website].
In April, Moscow's Khamovniki Borough Court refused [RIA Novosti report] to refer the case back to prosecutors after the former business partners both pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the additional charges of money laundering and embezzlement. Their lawyers also challenged [RIA Novosti report] the charges on grounds of insufficient evidence and technical errors. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were initially convicted and jailed [JURIST report] in 2005 on fraud and tax evasion charges stemming from an alleged attempt to embezzle and strip Yukos of valuable assets. They are currently serving an eight-year prison sentence and could face up to 20 additional years if convicted on the current charges.