ECHR v Khodorkovsky

So, Khodorkovsky is not, after all, a political prisoner. The European Court of Human Rights did not back Khodorkovsky's allegation that the prosecution against him was politically motivated. Though ‘the case might raise suspicion as to what the real intent of the Russian authorities might have been’, the court ruled that, ‘claims of political motivation behind the prosecution required incontestable proof, which had not been presented’.

Few had doubted that the ECHR would find violations of human rights in Khodorkovsky's conditions of detention – given the state of the Russian penitentiary it would have been a surprise if the court had ruled otherwise. What came as a bolt from the blue is that there is nothing wrong with the arrest itself, nor do the judges see the Yukos’s ex-owner as a political prisoner.

The decision can be appealed to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.