Facebook Unblocks Khodorkovsky Account

The social networking site had blocked Khodorkovsky’s personal account “without warning,” his supporters said. Igor Tabakov

Facebook on Tuesday restored the account of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and apologized for the temporary suspension, which it said was done by mistake.

The social networking site's administrators suspended the profile, located at Facebook.com/m.khodorkovsky, on Saturday “without any warning and giving no explanation,” supporters of Khodorkovsky said in a statement on Khodorkovsky.ru.

The account was run by Khodorkovsky's press service, which was authorized to handle it by the former Yukos owner, Kommersant reported. Khodorkovsky, once the country's wealthiest person, is serving an eight-year sentence on tax evasion charges and faces a verdict in a second trial in December.

Khodorkovsky's press service also created another Facebook page for the businessman, Facebook.com/mikhailkhodorkovsky, shortly before the ban. That account has faced no sanctions so far.

Facebook later asked the account's administrator to provide documents confirming Khodorkovsky's identity.

The businessman's passport was confiscated by prison officials when he was first detained in 2003. Khodorkovsky's family found his military service card and sent a scan to Facebook, but the network's administration replied that the document was not enough, the press service said.

Nevertheless, the original page was unblocked Tuesday.

“Having looked into your situation, we found out that your account was blocked by mistake,” Facebook said in an e-mailed statement to Khodorkovsky.ru early Tuesday. It did not elaborate.

Khodorkovky's Facebook account was opened in April 2009, ahead of the second trial against Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev on related charges. The page, which provides news on the trial, has 5,000 friends — the maximum allowed by Facebook.

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