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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 09:05 GMT
Ex-Yukos manager to get treatment
Vasily Aleksanyan in Moscow's courtroom on 5 February 2008
Mr Aleksanyan says he believes he will die in prison
A gravely ill former top manager of Russia's disbanded oil giant Yukos is to be transferred from jail to a clinic, prison officials say.

Vasily Aleksanyan - who has Aids and cancer - is currently being tried in Moscow on charges of embezzlement.

The move to transfer him to hospital follows pressure from human rights activists on Russia's prison service.

It reverses Wednesday's court ruling, which said that Mr Aleksanyan should be treated in jail.

The Moscow court has suspended the trial, which began on Tuesday.

Mr Aleksanyan, the 36-year-old former vice president of Yukos, has been in detention since 2006. He denies all the charges.

Mr Aleksanyan's lawyers say he has developed serious health complications and is nearly blind.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly appealed for Mr Aleksanyan to be treated in hospital.

Russia's human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has called for an independent medical examination of Mr Aleksanyan.

Yukos saga

The jailed Yukos founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is on hunger strike in support of his deputy.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky. File photo
Mr Khodorkovsky says his case is politically motivated

Mr Khodorkovsky is serving eight years in a Siberian prison after being convicted of fraud and tax evasion. He said officials were punishing Mr Aleksanyan for refusing to sign false confessions.

Yukos, once Russia's biggest oil company, was declared bankrupt in 2006 and ceased to exist as a legal entity in November 2007.

The company had been steadily dismantled after being accused of massive fraud and tax evasion by the Russian authorities.

Yukos maintained it was the victim of a concerted political campaign by a government which wanted to discredit its executives and gain control of vital energy assets.

Mr Khodorkovsky's supporters have always said that his arrest was punishment for his support of pro-Western opposition political parties.

Russian officials deny the allegations.

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