( dpa ) - Jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky said Thursday he would not end his hunger strike until his fellow prisoner and ex-lawyer Vasily Aleksanyan, who is suffering from AIDS, was granted "qualified medical treatment."
"I have taken the only decision possible under the circumstances: I announced a hunger strike," Khodorkovsky wrote in a statement posted on his website Thursday, his second day of refusing food and water.
The ex-Yukos head said that news of Aleksanyan's deteriorating condition had reached him through media reports.
"They will kill him in prison because he - being a courageous and just person - refuses to lie and slander me," Khodorkovsky wrote.
Aleksanyan, jailed on tax evasion charges, has accused the authorities of denying him medical treatment for AIDS in retribution for refusing to testify against his former Yukos employers.
Russia's Supreme Court has rejected Aleksanyan's request to be transferred to a civilian hospital, and a preliminary hearing of the case was deferred Wednesday.
"I hope that the agency you head will make the decision to guarantee Aleksanyan life and medical care," Khodorkovsky said when declaring his hunger strike Wednesday.
Russia's richest man before his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year sentence on charges of fraud and tax evasion that Kremlin critics see as revenge for challenging the political power centre.
His oil company Yukos has since been auctioned off by the state.