A Russian court has rejected Mikhail Khodorkovsky's request for parole on Friday, ordering the jailed oil tycoon to serve out the remainder of his sentence in a ruling his lawyer called politically motivated. Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company and once Russia's richest man, was sentenced to 8 years in a Siberian prison in 2005 for tax evasion and fraud in what Kremlin critics slammed as a flawed trial.
The judge cited Khodorkovsky's refusal to take part in prison sewing courses in his rejection of the parole request. Khodorkovsky showed little surprise at the decision, appearing calm as the judge finished speaking. The prosecution of the oligarch was widely seen as an attempt to silence a Kremlin opponent and consolidate control over Russia's strategic energy sector.