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The West Condemns Sentencing of Russian Business Tycoon

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The US, UK, and Germany have come out criticizing strongly the Russian court’s judgement sentencing oil tycoon Khodorkovsky a second time. Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev have already been sentenced in 2005 for allegedly commiting fraud and tax evasion. They were arrested in 2003. The duo is now again handed a sentence of life imprisonment as they were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering.

Once seen as a threat to former President Vladimir Putin, he was foundKhodorovsky with Lebedev guilty along with Lebedev of stealing billions of dollars from their own oil firm, Yukos, and laundering the proceeds. Their lawyers said they would appeal but, if the sentence remains, Khodorkovsky will not be released until well after the next presidential election.

West alleges that Putin’s government has pressured the justice system to sentence him further, as he would become a potential competitor against Putin. The defence lawyers contend that the allegations are meaningless as the oil alleged to be embezzled would be almost equal to the total production of Yukos during the period in question. They claim that the sentence amounted to lawlessness. Supporters of Khodorkovsky held rallies outside the court.

The US State Department spokesperson said Washington was concerned by the abusive use of the legal system in Russia after the latest judgement. Later an unnamed senior US administrator was quoted by BBC News as saying that the sentencing might complicate Russia’s expected entry into the World Trade Organisation in 2011. Germany Chancellor Angela Markel said she was deeply disappointed and the sentence appeared to have political motives. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague asked Russia to respect the principles of justice and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory manner.

A BBC correspondent said that the Russian authorities told the rest of the world to mind their own business. He seems to believe that the rest of the world means only the US, the UK, and Germany. Other than these three countries, no country has yet commented on the issue. Yet, he chose to attribute the opinion of three countries to the rest of the world. It is nothing but “manufacturing consent.”

Mr. Putin is said to refer to Khodorkovsky in a televised interview last week as a thief who belongs in prison. After the first sentence, Yukos filed for bankruptcy. Putin reacted to the criticism a week back asking the critics to mind their own business and the issue was their internal matter.

The question is whether the US deserves a right to ask other countries to observe the rule of law while it is involved in killings of large number of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US is resorting to numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity without being ever questioned. According to Amy Goodman, the presenter of TV channel Democracy Now, for every militant killed in Afghanistan ten civilians are killed in drone attacks. Now the US is also looking to charge Julian Assange, Wikileaks editor, with espionage. It has appointed grand jury to find ways for indicting Julian on any charge, presumably espionage that could seek his extradition to the US and keep him in US jails no matter whether he really committed such crimes.

The US kept Panama president Noriega on drug trafficking charges simply because he tried to exercise sovereignty over the Panama Canal. It bombed Grenada and tried to kill Gaddafi by bombing his palace. The US kept itself out of the purview of the International Criminal Court disregarding international rule of law. America’s unconditional support of Israel and its murderous activities is a biggest threat to peace process in the Middle East. Attacking Afghanistan in the name of the war on terrorism and toppling the Iraqi government in the name of democracy is a gravest violation of natural principles of justice, rule of law, humanity, and sovereignty of independent countries. All these crimes demonstrate that the US is the biggest terrorist state. Leaked diplomatic documents once again unequivocally proved that fact.

The US should first stop its abuse of the rule of international law. Then only it can acquire a moral right to condemn immoral and illegal acts of other states. Until then, it is the first country to be condemned by the international community for its hegemonic acts and wars of aggression around the world.


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About Sekhar

  • Ruvy

    …without the US’ support Israeli regime could not have become such a violent peace destroyer. Israeli regime’s actions are detrimental to Arab people as well as to Israelis also.

    We obviously live on different planets, Sekhar. How IS the Martian weather, anyway?

  • Yes Ruvy, without the US’ support Israeli regime could not have become such a violent peace destroyer. Israeli regime’s actions are detrimental to Arab people as well as to Israelis also. It’s actions are aggravating anti-Israeli sentiments among Arabs and Muslims. Some of the Israelis may think the US is its mentor as it is supplying weapons and billions of aid. But, by doing so the US developed a strong military asset in the Middle East region. Arabs and Israelis have thus become pathetic victims to the hegemonic designs of the US imperialism. Israelis and Arabs have to work together to bring down US imperialism and its ally Israeli regime for a peaceful future. That’s what I want to say.

    I’m not with terrorism of any kind. It helps oppressive regimes to carry out more attacks on people’s interests in the name of fighting terrorism. I also view Muslim terrorism as a response to the terrorist activities of the US imperialist state. Unless the US hegemonic designs and the imperialism itself is defeated at the hands of the world people, terrorist activities of some groups of oppressed people would not end. If we consider these terrorist activities of the oppressed groups as a major threat and leave out crimes of the imperialist state, it is only helpful to the US and its criminal activities. People can sort out issues once the perpetrators of the oppression and sponsors of the terrorism i.e. the imperialist gang of the west. Unfortunately that is not what is happening but the reverse.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    Perhaps the judgment of which nation was the worst terrorist nation based on the number of lives of innocents wrongly ended by violence conducted by the offending nation. If we use that criterion, America is by far the worst terrorist nation in the world thanks to the quite illegal Iraq war.

  • Ruvy

    Well, Sekhar, at least us Israelis are not the worst terrorists on the planet, in your opinion. I suppose I should be thankful for small blessings.

    While I have a very low opinion of the criminal regime that runs the US, I submit to you that the various Wahhabi and Shi’a “Muslims” are far worse terrorists – as so little is being dome about them in reality.

    Twenty-one dead in an attack on a Coptic church, scores dead in attacks on Nigerian Christians, a steady diet of murdering Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan, a continuing massacre in Darfur and southern Sudan. The stink of blood sent up by the “religion of peace” and its “adherents” befouls the planet. Where is a clothespin, anyway?

    As for the Russians, they never even knew the concept of “rule of law”. The only thing they have known since 1613 (or is is 1617?) is rule by the czar. The only question has been whether the particular czar has worn a crown or not.

    As for the Americans and their criminal government, they can get a lot of points with me by freeing Jonathan Pollard and not showing so openly what Jew-haters they are by treating differently from the way they treat worse cases of espionage. But if I held my breath waiting for these Jew-haters to show a little mercy, I’d have long been dead.