Russian President Orders Review of Khodorkovsky Case

Posted March 5th, 2012 at 9:50 am (UTC-5)
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered prosecutors to review the conviction of jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Monday's announcement by the Kremlin calls for a review of 32 cases, including those of Khodorkovsky, his business partner, Platon Lebedev, and other Russian citizens.

The request follows a meeting last month during which opposition and protest leaders presented the president with a list of 32 people it regarded as political prisoners.

An activist with the Russian human rights organization, Moscow Helsinki Group, described the review as an empty gesture.

“This is a kind of political game — and I don't know anything about political games, I'm not a politician, but what is clear to me is that this (President Dmitry Medvedev's call for the case to be reviewed) is a gesture aimed at credulous fools.”

Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, was arrested in 2003 and convicted on charges of fraud and tax evasion. He was sentenced to stay in jail until 2016.

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, who won Sunday's presidential election for a record third term.