MOSCOW, September 13 (Itar-Tass) — Russia's Supreme Court acknowledged on Tuesday that custody extension for former MENATEP director Platon Lebedev was illegal within the second criminal case against him. Criminal proceedings against Lebedev had been opened over theft of oil and laundering the proceeds.
"The court acknowledges that the Khamovniki court's resolution dated May 14, 2010, which extended custody for Lebedev to August 17, 2010, was illegitimate," the Supreme Court said in a resolution.
The Court agreed with the defence’s position that the decision to extend arrest had been passed after amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure had come into effect, according to which the persons suspected of economic crimes are placed in custody in exceptional cases.
Earlier, Supreme Court judge Yakovlev, in a resolution on opening supervisory proceedings, stated that "it should be acknowledged that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were charged with the commission of economic crimes," which implies that the ban on arrest applies to them as well.
Due to the present resolution by the supervisory body, all other resolutions on extending custody for Lebedev are regarded as illegitimate.
The Supreme Court also issued a statement to Supreme Court chairwoman Olga Yegorova, in which it asked her to pay attention to gross violations of law by judges in reviewing complaints. The Supreme Court must be informed about the results of her actions, the resolution said.
However, the Tuesday resolution by the Supreme Court will not affect Lebedev's jail term.
Under the law, the party must go through all the bodies, including the supervisory one, in order to have the right to file an appeal with the European court of human rights, which Lebedev's lawyers intend to do.
On December 30, 2010, Moscow's Khamovniki court sentenced Lebedev and former YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky to 14 years for theft of oil and laundering the proceeds. The defendants and their lawyers appealed against the verdict. On May 24, 2011, the Moscow City Court reduced their sentences by one year.
Their jail term will expire in 2016.
On July 27, the Velsk district court refused to meet Lebedev's petition on parole, as he "has not repented his deed," and repeatedly violated prison regulations during his jail term.
"He has no commendations, and the dynamics of his behaviour do not show that he has no need for imprisonment for further correction," according to the court's position.
Lebedev's defence appealed the decision to refuse parole. The Arkhangelsk regional court will review the complaint on September 16.