Aleksanyan Says He Is Receiving Care

APAleksanyan sitting in the courtroom Thursday before a preliminary hearing on charges related to his work at Yukos.
Former Yukos executive Vasily Aleksanyan, who claims he was denied treatment for AIDS while in detention for not testifying against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, said Thursday he was now receiving "unprecedented attention and care" in detention.

Aleksanyan, who is awaiting trial for embezzlement and tax evasion, also revealed to reporters at the Simonovsky District Court that he had been diagnosed with terminal lymphoma.

Aleksanyan is currently being held at the Matrosskaya Tishina detention facility in eastern Moscow, and he told reporters at the courthouse that his conditions were improved Wednesday.

"My cell was cleaned," said Aleksanyan, who appeared exhausted. "I returned from yesterday's hearing and thought I was in the wrong place."

The court is to rule Friday on a possible release and transfer to a clinic.

Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin called Thursday for Aleksanyan to be provided with an independent medical examination.

Aleksanyan also thanked Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos CEO currently serving an eight-year prison term in Siberia, for going on a hunger strike Wednesday to protest prosecutors' handling of Aleksanyan.

"I am grateful for his support, although I'd rather he not put his life at risk, as he has four children," Aleksanyan said.

Aleksanyan has claimed that he has been deliberately denied medical treatment for AIDS while in detention as punishment for refusing to testify against his former bosses -- Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, who is also serving out an eight-year prison term.