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MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — Former head of the Yukos oil company Mikhail Khodorkovsky who was sentenced to 13 years in prison will not request release on parole again, because he believes that the “system” has already given a response to him, Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant told Itar-Tass.
“An application for parole had been filed in March, however, it has never been considered. However, there were a number of court decisions against this background, including those on parole for Lebedev, penalties imposed on Khodorkovsky by the leadership of the Segezha penal colony, as well as today’s court hearing that recognised legal one of these penalties. All this is a response to our request for parole,” the lawyer said.
Klyuvgant noted that he considers incorrect the mere phrase “repeated request” for parole, as the lawyers still do not understand what happened to the first petition filed in Moscow.
A repeated request is out of the question, he stressed: “The issue is not on the agenda now.”
On Monday, the Segezha municipal court found legal the reprimand to Mikhail Khodorkovsky for giving his inmates cigarettes in a local colony. In the language of the prison administration, this sounds like “illegal disposal of items in favour of other prisoners.”
However, according to his lawyer, the defence plans shortly to appeal the second reprimand to Mr Khodorkovsky for “negligent attitude to work” and for “being in the wrong place without a permit.” In particular, the lawyer referred to the fact that being “unable to fulfil the task of the master due to the absence of the welder and not leaving the production premises of the shop, he (Khodorkovsky) was waiting for the master in his room for getting a new job.”
The defence considers both penalties imposed on the ex-head of Yukos “false,” and the violations themselves – “contrived.”
On December 30, 2010, the Khamovnichesky Court of Moscow sentenced Khodorkovsky and former head of Menatep Group Platon Lebedev to 14 years in prison for the theft of oil and money laundering. The defendants and their lawyers appealed this decision. As a result, the Moscow City Court on May 24, 2011 mitigated their punishment by 1 year. Thus, the term of imprisonment of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev expires in 2016.
Lebedev, who was sent to serve his sentence in the Velsk colony in the Arkhangelsk region, has already tried to go free on parole, but on July 27 the Velsk District Court turned down his related plea.
Khodorkovsky appealed his convictions to the European Court of Human Rights. On 31 May 2011 the court ruled that Khodorkovsky failed to prove that his prosecution was politically motivated. The court ruled, however, that Russia committed serious violations of Khodorkovsky’s rights during his arrest and pretrial detention.
Khodorkovsky became eligible for parole after having served half of his original sentence, however, in February 2007 state prosecutors began to prepare new charges of embezzlement, leading up to a second trial which began in March 2009. Prosecutors filed new charges against Khodorkovsky, alleging that he stole 350 million tonnes of oil, charges which Kommersant described as “Compared with the previous version, only stylistic inaccuracy has been improved, and some of the paragraphs have been swapped.” Others pointed out that the new charges were impossible given that he was previously convicted on tax evasion of the same allegedly stolen oil. According to Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Karinna Moskalenko, “The position of the prosecutors is also self-contradictory. Khodorkovsky is now serving a sentence for tax evasion, and if they are asserting that he stole all the oil his company produced, what did he go to prison for the first time if there was nothing to be taxed?”
During a visit to Moscow in July 2009, President Barack Obama said: “it does seem odd to me that these new charges, which appear to be a repackaging of the old charges, should be surfacing now, years after these two individuals have been in prison and as they become eligible for parole.”
The verdict was originally scheduled for 15 December, but was delayed without explanation until the 27th. Just a few days before the verdict was read by the judge before the court, Vladimir Putin made public comments with regard to his opinion of Khodorkovsky’s guilty, saying “a thief should sit in jail.” On 27 December 2010 Judge Viktor Danilkin handed down a guilty verdict, convicting Khodorkovsky and Lebedev of stealing the full 350 million tonnes of oil, instead of the reduced 218 million tonnes as requested by the prosecutors. The judge sentenced them to 13.5 years in prison, later reduced to 12 years, one year less than the maximum sentence, which, when combined with time already served, will keep them in jail until 2017.
On 24 May 2011, Khodorkovsky’s appeal hearing was held, and Judge Danilkin rejected the challenge. Following the rejection of the appeal, the human rights group Amnesty International declared Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as “prisoners of conscience,” remarking in a statement that “Whatever the rights and wrongs of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s first convictions there can no longer be any doubt that their second trial was deeply flawed and politically motivated.”
In June 2011, Khodorkovsky was sent to prison colony No. 9 of Segezha, in the northern region of Karelia near the Finnish border.