On March 27, 2010, former Russian oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky released a statement during his embezzlement trial which claimed that jury trials in Russia were severely restricted and that entering a plea of "not guilty" plea often leads to retaliatory verdicts and penalties. The statement came in response to a law approved by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in January 2009 which allows terrorism and treason trials to be adjudicated without a jury. Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were ultimately sentenced to six years of imprisonment in addition to the eight years already served. Earlier this month President Medvedev ordered the nation's prosecutor general to conduct a study into 32 criminal cases, including Khodorkovsky, which have been challenged as politically motivated by opponents of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
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Learn more about Mikhail Khodorkovsky from the JURIST news archive and read about the political motivations involved in the trial from JURIST Guest Columnist Olga Khvostunova in Hotline.