President Putin: Court has grounds to arrest Khodorkovsky

Russian President Vladimir Putin proceeds from the assumption that the court had grounds to arrest Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

"Only a court can imprison a person, even for preliminary investigation. If this was done in this exact case, I believe that the court had grounds for this," Putin said at a government session.

"Incidentally, whether a person is guilty or not should be proved by those who think so," he pointed out.

"Eventually the decision on the issue [whether a person is guilty or not] may be taken only by the court," Putin said. "In it [court], as well as in the eyes of the law, all people should be equal, a modest clerk and a state official, even of the highest rank, as in the well known case of the former federal minister, an ordinary citizen, an average entrepreneur, and an influential businessman regardless of how many billion dollars he has on his personal or corporate accounts," the President pointed out.

"Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law," he emphasised. "Otherwise we will never solve the problem of creating an economically efficient and socially adjusted tax system," Putin concluded.

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