Russian oil tycoon sent to unknown prison
Moscow - Jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev appear to have been sent without warning on Friday to a prison colony outside of Moscow to continue serving their 13-year sentence, but the location was unknown, their lawyers said.
They had been transferred back to Moscow more than two years ago and held in a detention centre during their second politically driven trial, which ended in December with them being found guilty of stealing tens of billions of dollars worth of oil from Khodorkovsky's company, Yukos.
Their transfer back to prison had been expected following the rejection of their appeal on May 24.
Khodorkovsky's elderly parents had expressed hope that he would not be sent far from Moscow as he was following his first conviction in 2005, when he was shipped by train to a labour camp in eastern Siberia not far from the Chinese border. Lebedev was initially sent to a prison colony above the Arctic Circle.
The second conviction would keep them incarcerated until 2016, but both are now eligible for early release and have applied for parole.
Khodorkovsky's lead lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, said he was informed Friday by the Matrosskaya Tishina detention centre that Khodorkovsky had been transferred to a prison colony but he was not told where.
Lebedev's lawyers were told the same thing, according to Khodorkovsky's website.
There was no indication whether the two men were sent to the same prison.
Khodorkovsky was seen as a political threat to Vladimir Putin, who was president when both men were arrested in 2003 and remains Russia's most powerful leader now that he is prime minister.