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German Lawmaker Refused Prison Visit With Khodorkovsky

A prominent German lawmaker on Wednesday pledged not to give up her efforts to visit jailed Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, even though she was barred from meeting him in his Karelian prison this week.

Marieluise Beck, of the Green party, said she filed another visitation request with the regional government of Karelia, the northwestern region where Khodorkovsky has been imprisoned since last year.

"I handed the request to the German Consulate here," she said by telephone from St. Petersburg.

Beck spent most of Tuesday in the town of Segezha, where Khodorkovsky's Prison Colony No. 7 is located.

She said she managed to speak with the prison director, who told her he would decide on her request within 30 days.

Beck said she decided to take the train back to St. Petersburg because she could not wait a whole month in the provincial town on the border with Finland.

"As a Bundestag deputy, I have work to do," she said, adding that she was flying to the German capital Wednesday night.

But she was adamant that she would return immediately if successful.

"I am absolutely determined to succeed with this visit, even if I have to take the night train 100 times," she wrote on Twitter.

The train journey from St. Petersburg takes 12 hours, she said.

Beck, who is a member of the parliament's foreign relations committee, said she filed the request after Khodorkovsky's relatives transferred their right to visit him to her. She said this was done after authorities denied her request to visit him in her capacity as a foreign lawmaker.

Beck said she attended 14 hearings during Khodorkovsky's two trials. She also said that to her knowledge, no foreign lawmaker has been allowed to visit the tycoon in prison.

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