Mikhail Khodorkovskij er satt i isolat for å ha delt matvarer med medfanger. Myndighetene prøver systematisk å knekke ham, sier moren som nettopp har besøkt ham.

THE former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been locked up in solitary confinement for 10 days for sharing a food parcel with other inmates at the remote Siberian prison colony where he is serving out an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion, writes Mark Franchetti.
It is the third time in less than eight months since he was moved to the colony from a Moscow remand jail that Khodorkovsky has been isolated for violating prison rules. Earlier this year he was punished for drinking tea in the wrong place.

Lawyers for the embattled oligarch, who was the country’s richest man until he fell out with the Kremlin, denounced the latest penalty. They believe it is aimed at breaking Khodorkovsky psychologically and at ending his chances of an early release on good behaviour. Prison authorities claimed he was caught breaking prison rules that ban inmates from buying, selling or donating gifts.

The punishment came two days after the jailed tycoon’s mother and wife visited him at the colony in Krasnokamensk, more than 3,000 miles east of Moscow. Marina Khodorkovskaya, 73, who had last seen her son three months earlier and fears for his life, said he was complaining of constant pressure put upon him by prison authorities.

«He said that the hardest thing is that he’s constantly watched and is being followed by a guard even to the lavatory,» said Khodorkovskaya.

«He has to watch his every step and is keeping a written chronological record of everything he does so that he can challenge the next charge that he’s committed some violation. He told me that he is finding living under constant pressure very difficult.»

Khodorkovsky is the only inmate at the colony who is being subjected to round-the-clock surveillance.

«They are trying to break him,» said Khodorkovskaya. «They haven’t managed to but he told me that there are changes in the way his mind sees things. He said whereas before he used to think in economic and technical parameters, now he has to think about surviving the predicament he is in. He told me he is focusing on safeguarding his health and his intellect.»

She was alarmed by the news that her son is back in an isolation cell. «I fear for his life,» she said. «Every time they lock him away alone I get more worried because there they could do whatever they want with him. Far away from witnesses anything could happen to him.»

Khodorkovsky put in solitary

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