Russian Court Refuses Khodorkovsky Parole Request

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 1:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A Russian court has refused to consider the parole request of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky because it says his lawyers did not supply the necessary documents.

Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, formally requested parole last week after serving more than half of their 13-year jail terms. But the court says no decision can be made and the parole application will be returned to Khodorkovsky's lawyers.

Khodorkovsky and his backers say all the charges against him are politically motivated because he supports politicians opposed to former president-turned-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Last week, the European Court of Appeals ordered Russia to pay some $35,000 in damages to Khodorkovsky, ruling that his rights were violated after his arrest in 2003. But it rejected his complaint that his arrest was politically motivated, saying his lawyers did not present enough evidence.

The former oil tycoon was serving a prison term for tax evasion and fraud when he and Lebedev were given additional sentences in December for money laundering and stealing oil from their company. A Moscow court upheld the second conviction but reduced it by one year to 13 years.

Amnesty International has declared Khodorkovsky and Lebedev prisoners of conscience.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky built Yukos into Russia's largest oil company along with Lebedev. The Kremlin seized Yukos when they were charged with tax evasion fraud in 2005. Russian officials broke up the company and sold off its pieces to pay what they say was Khodorkovsky's tax bill.