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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Prison: Khodorkovsky Is Well-Fed

Prison authorities denied on Wednesday that jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky had gone on a hunger strike over what he saw as unfair treatment of his ex-business associate. Khodorkovsky purchased 4,200 rubles ($147) worth of food products Tuesday and receives $1,000 worth of food every month, the Moscow branch of the Federal Prison Service said Wednesday.

Khodorkovsky's lawyers, however, insisted that the former oil tycoon had been refusing food and water since last Saturday and intended to continue fasting until Platon Lebedev was moved from his solitary cell in Moscow's Matrosskaya Tishina detention center.

"Khodorkovsky plans to remain on hunger strike for as long as Lebedev is kept in solitary confinement," Khodorkovsky lawyer Anton Drel said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

In a statement released Tuesday through his lawyers, Khodorkovsky said he was refusing food and nourishment to protest the solitary confinement of Lebedev, who was moved to a 3-square-meter isolation cell on the grounds that he had refused to take daily walks and was rude to prison staff. Lebedev, 48, who suffers from a number of health problems, is due to be moved to a larger cell by Thursday.

The two men, who have been imprisoned at Matrosskaya Tishina since a court sentenced them to nine-year jail terms for fraud and tax evasion in May after a highly politicized trial, are currently preparing their appeals, due to be filed by Thursday.

"We will find out who disseminated this false information" about the hunger strike, Federal Prison Service chief Yury Kalinin said Wednesday.

"Under our internal regulations, if a person in custody goes on a hunger strike, ... he is placed under medical supervision. If his health deteriorates, the prison administration can resort to forced feeding," Kalinin said.

The prison authorities' denial was harshly criticized by Khodorkovsky lawyer Yury Shmidt on Wednesday.

"I have no doubt that Mikhail Borisovich went on a hunger strike. ... He is not the kind of man who would take such things lightly," Shmidt said, Interfax reported.

Shmidt said that the hunger strike would likely finish as soon as Lebedev was released from solitary confinement.

(MT, Bloomberg)