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Medvedev’s council says second sentence to Khodorkovsky “mistake”

December 21, 2011, 15:54 UTC+3
The civil society and human rights council at the Russian president reported “fundamental violations” during the second trial of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky
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MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) —— The civil society and human rights council at the Russian president reported “fundamental violations” during the second trial of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his companion Platon Lebedev and called to correct the “judicial mistake” as both men did not violate the law.

On Wednesday the council submitted its 427-page report to President Dmitry Medvedev and recommended to hold a new trial of the two men who were sentenced to 14 years in prison.

“The council deems it necessary to recommend to the top leadership of the country to instruct the Russian Investigative Committee to consider launching a new investigation due to newly exposed circumstances and to revise the criminal case because of fundamental violations committed during its consideration that testify to a judicial mistake,” the report said.

Council member Tamara Morshchakova said independent experts concluded “all actions (of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev) had lawful grounds and were quite legal.” She said Yukos operations “did not cause any reproaches of lawyers and corresponded to acting legislation.”

“There is neither corpus delicti nor embezzlement in the actions of the convicted,” she said adding the presumption of innocence and several international norms had been also breached.

The initiative to probe the second Yukos case was voiced by President Dmitry Medvedev in February. At that time, the head of state said he "would be grateful if the expert community prepared a legal analysis of the court's ruling."

The report said the council refused to issue a political opinion about the case.

At the same time, the council guarantees that there is no conflict of interests between the experts. The probe has been conducted for free, it said.

"The Council has invited a group of noted Russian scientists and experts from different countries, such as the USA, Germany, and the Netherlands. The pool of experts prepared their conclusions from April through November," council chairman Mikhail Fedotov earlier told Tass.

On December 30, 2010, Moscow's Khamovniki court sentenced Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to 14 years in prison for theft of oil and money laundering. On May 24, 2011, the Moscow City Court reduced their sentence by one year. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's jail terms expire in 2016.

 

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