Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has given an emotional final appeal to a Moscow court, before his trial for embezzlement was adjourned until next month’s verdict.
He said all Russian people were on trial, not just he and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev.
Once Russia’s richest man, Khodorkovsky said the world was watching the outcome, and wished the judge courage, implying that the country’s judiciary was intimidated.
Describing it as a political trial, his lawyer Vladimir Krasnov said the defence hoped against hope for a just decision in the end. “But as they say, in mathematics there’s a chance, but this chance is tending towards zero,” he said.
Khodorkovsky is already serving eight years for tax evasion. He and his business partner face several more years behind bars, accused of stealing billions of euros worth of oil from the now-defunct Yukos company.
Before being driven away to chants of “freedom” from supporters, Khodorkovsky said he did not want to die in jail, but was ready to do so if necessary.