YUKOS Vice President Released on Bail in Russia

On 31 December 2008, Vasilii Aleksanian was released on bail of 50 million rubles (more that US$1.5 million). The money had been collected during a campaign in his support. Vasilii Aleksanian, a former vice-president of the Russian oil company YUKOS, was detained on 6 April 2006 and accused of embezzlement and tax fraud. In October 2006 he was diagnosed with HIV infection, and subsequently developed AIDS and several other diseases, including lymphatic cancer, tuberculosis and a cataract; he has also developed a tumor in his kidney. Under Russian law, a person diagnosed with such serious health problems should not be kept in pre-trial detention. In mid-November, he had surgery to remove his spleen. Soon afterwards his condition deteriorated, but improved again in late December. Vasilii Aleksanian spent 31 December with his family, including his six-year-old-son, whom he last saw three years ago.