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Russian Prison Authorities Decide To Stop Talking to Media About Khodorkvoskiy

Novosibirsk, 3 November, RIA-Novosti correspondent Maksim Koshmarchuk: The Federal Service for the Administration of Punishments (FSAP) directorate for Chita Region has decided to stop providing journalists with information about the ex-chief of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovskiy, who is currently serving his sentence in a penitentiary in Chita Region.

Yuriy Yakushevskiy, deputy chief of the information and analysis department of the FSAP, told RIA-Novosti on Thursday (3 November) that the decision had been taken by the chief of the directorate, Yunus Yamayev.

In response to the question on what was behind the decision, Yakushevskiy said the legislation dealing with crimes and administration of punishments does not bind FSAP employees to provide journalists with information about convicts.

"We can provide information only to relatives or the court which issued a guilty verdict," he said.

According to Yakushevskiy, some media outlets earlier misinterpreted the information which he had supplied to them. "They distorted and turned upside down everything," the FSAP representative said with regret and added that he "was reprimanded" for that by the authorities.

From now on, journalists will be able to obtain information about Khodorkovskiy from his relatives or lawyers, Yakushevskiy said.

The ex-chief of Yukos is serving his sentence at a low-security penitentiary about 550 km away from Chita, on the outskirts of a small town of Krasnokamensk. Khodorkovskiy was moved there from Moscow on 15 October.

(Passage omitted: The chief of the penitentiary complains that the institution is literally plagued by journalists).