Russian prosecutors' move to disbar Mikhai Khodorkovsky lawyers rejected

Russian prosecutors' move to disbar three lawyers for convicted tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was rejected by the Moscow bar on Friday, according to a statement on his defense team's Web site.

Prosecutors alleged that lawyers had sought to illegally drag out Khodorkovsky's appeal against his conviction on tax and fraud charges. The appeal was rejected in September and Khodorkovsky has been sent to a Far East penal colony to serve out his eight-year sentence.

Genri Reznik, the head of the Moscow bar, said the lawyers had not been found in breach of professional ethics or the law on advocacy, the Interfax news agency reported. The decision remains to be confirmed by the bar's council in a hearing on Oct. 27 before coming into effect, Interfax said. The procedure is considered a formality, however.

Observers say the case against Khodorkovsky was opened as Kremlin punishment for his funding opposition parties in 2003, AP reports.