Rachel Polonsky says Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky is a prisoner of conscience, and his show trial stands as an indictment of the country’s criminal justice systemMoscow
In an iron cage in Hall 56 of the Meshchansky Court, the former chief executive of Yukos sits on his woollen hat, an anorak stuffed into the bars beside him. As his trial enters its 11th month, it is winter still in Moscow. The lumpen guard beside the cage fiddles with a pair of handcuffs, trying to stay awake.
When Sajid Badat, formerly of Gloucester, pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to conspiring to blow up an aeroplane with a crude shoe-bomb device (before bottling it), there was an audible intake of breath among New Labour politicians and Muslim community leaders. The papers said he was quiet and bright, a good Muslim educated at a Church of England school (Gloucester’s prestigious Crypt Grammar School for Boys, which counts the late Sir Robin Day among its alumni).
Ours would be a grim age if we were to deny millions of people cheap and satisfying entertainment, and so, therefore, perhaps we should be especially grateful to the Prince of Wales and Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles as they approach their wedding day. Few people in Britain seem to welcome the happiness the couple clearly feel as they approach the regularisation of their relationship. However, the joy the public finds instead in engaging in acts of spite, hypocrisy, gratuitous vilification and outright republicanism seems to more than make up for that.