Jailed former tycoon Khodorkovsky asks Russian court to free him
MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has asked Russia's Supreme Court to release him and overturn a sentence he said was one of many "faulty rulings" that have spurred opposition to President Vladimir Putin.
Khodorkovsky, who was Russia's richest man as head of the Yukos oil company before his arrest in 2003 and sentencing in 2005 for tax evasion and fraud, read out his appeal in a video link from a prison colony near the Arctic Circle.
"In this case, the usual mantra that everything is legal and well-grounded just won't do," said Khodorkovsky, seen by some Kremlin critics as a potential opposition leader.
Describing his case as political, he said: "Faulty court rulings have already become a catalyst for the protest movement (against Putin). A growing part of society is demanding ... to be able to live and not be afraid."