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Russia drops case against ill former Yukos exec

* Former colleague of Mikhail Khodorkovsky ill with HIV/AIDS

* Court says statute of limitations prevents prosecution

MOSCOW, June 24 (Reuters) - A Russian court on Thursday dropped a criminal case against a former oil executive gravely ill with HIV/AIDS whose three-year detention sparked international condemnation, news agencies reported.

Vasily Alexanian was the former vice-president of the now-defunct oil firm Yukos, whose founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed in what some observers saw as a Kremlin drive to quash dissent.

Moscow’s Simonovsky Court agreed to drop charges of fraud and tax evasion against Alexanian because the statute of limitation on offences that allegedly took place in 1998-2000 had expired, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Alexanian was released in 2008 after a three-year pre-trial detention that was described as inhuman by the European Court of Human Rights.

Supporters of Alexanian allege his prosecution was politically motivated and that the authorities deliberately denied him adequate medical treatment.

Prosecutors dismissed allegations they mistreated Alexanian, accusing him instead of refusing to accept medical treatment in a ploy to delay his trial. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Matthew Jones)