Aleksanyan Transferred to Clinic

Vasily Aleksanyan, the former Yukos executive suffering from AIDS-related cancer and tuberculosis, has been moved from jail to a specialized clinic, his lawyer and a prison spokesman said.

Aleksanyan's transfer -- made Friday after previous refusals to hospitalize the Harvard-educated lawyer -- represents a rare victory for defendants in cases against Yukos and its jailed founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

It was unclear Sunday where Aleksanyan had been hospitalized.

Federal Prison Service spokesman Valery Zaitsev said Aleksanyan's whereabouts were being kept secret for security reasons and prison authorities were under no immediate obligation to release the information.

Aleksanyan's lawyer Yelena Lvova said prison officials had informed her about where her client had been taken only Saturday. She said she could not reveal his whereabouts without his authorization.

The prison service posted photographs on its web site Friday of what it said was Aleksanyan's hospital room before his arrival. Zaitsev said Aleksanyan would remain under constant guard.

Moscow's Simonovsky District Court decided Wednesday to suspend the embezzlement and money-laundering trial against Aleksanyan because of his poor health. But the court said he needed to remain in custody, raising the prospect that he would not be let out of jail.

Khodorkovsky has been on a hunger strike for two weeks to protest the treatment of Aleksanyan. A lawyer for Khodorkovsky, Karina Moskalenko, said he would continue his strike until he received confirmed information that Aleksanyan was receiving medical care.

The European Court of Human Rights and the U.S. government had called on prison authorities to transfer Aleksanyan to a hospital specializing in AIDS treatment.

"It remains our concern that this and any other cases that are handled through the Russian system be done with respect for the rule of law and due process that aren't influenced by political consideration," U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters Thursday in Washington.