President Putin announces Mikhail Khodorkovsky is to be pardoned

posted 23 Dec 2013, 07:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Dec 2013, 08:09 ]
19 December 2013

Source: (info)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, after his annual press conference, told journalists that he will soon sign a decree pardoning former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, after Khodorkovsky’s petition for clemency.

The Mikhail Khodorkovsky Press Centre released the following statement -"Until Mikhail Khodorkovsky meets with his lawyers, all comments made earlier by his lawyers regarding the petition for clemency are invalid."

According to the BBC, Putin said: "By law, Mikhail Borisovich was required to submit the appropriate documents, he did not do this, but has now written the necessary document and asked me to pardon him," adding that the application will soon be granted.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then head of the Yukos oil company, was arrested in 2003 at Novosibirsk airport, where a plane belonging to his company had landed.

In 2005 he was found guilty of fraud and other crimes and in 2010 was given a second conviction for money laundering.

A series of subsequent courts reduced his original sentence. Mikhail Khodorkovsky has never admitted guilt, calling all the charges against him "motivated by politics and corruption."

"He has spent more than 10 years in custody, it is a serious term. I believe that we need to pardon him," the president added.

During the press conference, Putin said that he considered the so-called "third Yukos affair" to have no realistic hope of prosecution.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been recognized as a political prisoner by human rights defenders.

News about possible new cases against Khodorkovsky appeared against the background of the discussion of the draft amnesty to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution.

reports that The former head of Menatep, Platon Lebedev, who was convicted alongside Khodorkovsky, did not, and does not intend to, appeal for clemency, the Russian Legal Information Agency has reported, citing Lebedev’s lawyer Aleksei Miroshnichenko.

Translated by Samuel Hancock