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ARKHANGELSK, March 26 (Itar-Tass) – The criminal panel of the Arkhangelsk region court on Tuesday turned down the appeal of former Menatep director Platon Lebedev against the dropping of clemency proceedings, the Court's spokesperson Ksenia Solovyova told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
The judges upheld the decision by the Velsk district court dated January 23. "The regional court agreed with the court of original jurisdiction which stopped the proceedings, stating that the Moscow City Court had already changed the verdict in accordance with new legislation, by reducing the jail terms for Khodorkovsky and his business partner Lebedev from 13 to 11 years. There have been no amendments to the criminal law which would improve Lebedev's situation since the Moscow court issued its resolution.
Lebedev's lawyer Larisa Vazerkina lodged an appeal against the resolution by the Velsk district court which dropped the clemency proceedings on January 23. The lawyer said the court had improperly used the notarized copy of the Moscow City Court resolution to drop the proceedings. She requested to overturn the decision by the court of original jurisdiction as "illegitimate and pass a new decision that conforms to the law." Since Lebedev's lawyers were unable to attend the Tuesday hearing, his interests were represented by a court-appointed lawyer, the spokeswoman said.
The Velsk court has considered clemency for Lebedev three times. On December 14, 2012, the Arkhangelsk region court again overturned the Velsk court's decision as too soft and sent the case back for a second review by a new panel of judges. The Velsk court met after the presidium of the Moscow City Court commuted Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's prison sentences. The lawyers said they would appeal at the Supreme Court because the Moscow City Court's decision had not taken into account the principle of adequacy of punishment. The lawyers insisted on reducing Lebedev's sentence to the time served.
On December 30, 2010, Moscow's Khamovniki court found former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Lebedev guilty of embezzlement and money laundering, and sentenced them to 14 years in a general regime penitentiary.
In May 2011, their jail terms were reduced by one year.
On December 20, 2012, the presidium of the Moscow City Court cut Lebedev and Khodorkovsky's sentences to 11 years in jail, due to amendments to a number of penal code article.
Lebedev is to be set free on July 2, 2014, and Khodorkovsky in October 2014. At present, Lebedev is serving his sentence in the penitentiary in the village of Gorka Muravyovskaya near Velsk, Arkhangelsk region.