Former Yukos head looks to EU for freedom

The Canadian lawyer representing imprisoned Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky is set to lobbying the European Union (EU) in his latest bid to win the release of his client.

Robert Amsterdam, from two-partner firm Amsterdam & Peroff, has embarked on the campaign ahead of the EU-Russia Summit on 21 May.

Speaking exclusively to The Lawyer, Amsterdam said: “The role of the European Community and its member states will determine the outcome of this case.”

Khodorkovsky, the former chief executive of Russian oil giant Yukos, has been detained in pre-trial custody since October last year, on charges of fraud and theft of state property.

While fellow ex-Yukos executives Platon Lebedev and Alexei Pichugin have been in prison since last June. Amsterdam insists that Khodorkovsky’s detention is unlawful, and has claimed that Pichugin has been tortured whilst in prison.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has agreed to examine the case, appointing the former German Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, as Counsel of Europe Rapporteur.