Keira Knightley and Sir Elton John"s bid to save former KGB spy and media tycoon Alexander Lebedev from Russian jail sentence


Keira and Sir Elton's bid to save former KGB spy and media tycoon Lebedev from Russian jail sentenceAlexander Lebedev faces up to five years in jail for hitting Sergei Polonsky
Sting, Sir Elton John and Keira Knightley unite in bid to save him from jailJudge last week banned him from leaving Russia ahead of controversial trial

By
Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:

23:03 GMT, 13 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:11 GMT, 13 April 2013

Sir Elton John, Keira Knightley and Sting have united in a bid to save media tycoon Alexander Lebedev from jail in Moscow.

This comes after a judge last week banned him from leaving Russia ahead of his controversial trial in which he is accused of politically motivated ‘hooliganism’.

Mr Lebedev, 53, faces up to five years in jail after hitting Sergei Polonsky during a talk show on a Moscow TV channel.

Keira Knightley

Sir Elton John

Keira Knightley (left) and Sir Elton John (right) are among a number of celebrities who have united in a bid to save media tycoon Alexander Lebedev from jail in Moscow

Facing trial: Alexander Lebedev, pictured with Natalia Vodianova, is charged with 'hooliganism' after hitting Sergei Polonsky on a TV chat show

Facing trial: Alexander Lebedev, pictured with Natalia Vodianova, is charged with 'hooliganism' after hitting Sergei Polonsky on a TV chat show

Stars who previously joined the campaign to keep him out of jail include Kevin Spacey and John Malkovich. Character references from these and other celebrities in support of Mr Lebedev were published last week.

The trial of the former KGB spy, whose family own the Independent newspapers and the London Evening Standard, is expected to restart soon following a delay over a legal wrangle.

Sir Elton said: ‘I have known Alexander for 15 years. He is a decent, generous, kind and thoughtful person and a man of integrity.’

Ms Knightley warned his charitable work would be disrupted if he was jailed. ‘I respect Alexander’s work in the UK and abroad,’ she said, citing his work for cancer charities.

A string of celebrities have written letters of support for Alexander Lebedev, pictured, whose family owns The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers

A string of celebrities have written letters of support for Alexander Lebedev, pictured, whose family owns The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers

Friends believe the real reason for the prosecution is his ownership of investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta which exposes government corruption.

Other celebrities who have previously joined the campaign to keep Lebedev out of jail include Hugh Grant and supermodel Natalia Vodianova. MailOnline reported in February how the stars sent letters of support for Lebedev to the Russian Politburo.

Notting Hill star Grant, 52, said in
his letter he had known Mr Lebedev for ten years and described him as
‘well-educated, philanthropic and admired by many here in the UK’.

Vodianova,
30, described Mr Lebedev as a ‘long-term friend’ and a ‘noble person’.
Spacey, 53, said he had known Mr Lebedev for more than a decade and ‘it
would be unfair to jail him for such a minor accident’.