MOSCOW (Reuters) - Rights group Amnesty International on Friday urged Russia to provide proper treatment for a jailed oil executive who has AIDS and says he could die if he is not moved to a specialised hospital.
Russia has snubbed three requests from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to move 36-year-old Vasily Alexanian out of his Moscow jail. He says he is nearly blind, has suspected tuberculosis and is being denied medication.
Russian rights campaigners have called Alexanian a political prisoner because he is a former vice-president of the Yukos oil company, whose bosses were jailed after they fell out with the Kremlin.
In a statement, Amnesty said Alexanian “is seriously ill with AIDS because he is being denied adequate medical treatment in detention”.
“Amnesty International is urging the Russian authorities to transfer ... Alexanian to a specialised hospital for HIV/AIDS patients where his illness can be treated adequately.”
It also called on Russia to comply with the European Court’s requests and to delay Alexanian’s trial, on charges of fraud and tax evasion, until he is healthy enough to defend himself.
Alexanian has accused investigators of deliberately withholding life-saving treatment to blackmail him into testifying against other Yukos executives.
Alexanian has a brother who works as a translator in the Reuters Moscow office.
Investigators on his case have denied mistreating Vasily Alexanian. They say he was offered adequate medical care in the prison sanatorium but refused to accept it. They accuse him of trying to delay the start of his trial.
Yukos’s main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is half-way through an eight-year sentence in Siberia for fraud and tax evasion. The Kremlin says the jailed Yukos managers are criminals, and denies a political witch-hunt against them.