Agence France Presse

Strasbourg, January 26:

The parliamentary assembly of the 46-nation Council of Europe on Tuesday strongly criticised Moscow over its handling of the fallen Russian oil giant Yukos.

The members of the international body, set up in 1949 to promote human rights and democracy in post-war Europe, questioned the fairness, impartiality and objectivity of the (Russian) authorities” in a resolution passed by 56 votes to 37, with 18 abstentions.

Moscow “seems to have acted in contravention of the fundamental rights to a legal defence,” in its action against the leaders of what was once Russia’s main oil exporter, whose main production unit fell to the government to pay off a disputed tax bill.