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MOSCOW, September 14 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s Supreme Court, granting a supervisory appeal filed by lawyers of former head of MENATEP Group Platon Lebedev, on Tuesday recognised as illegal the extension of custody for him and the former head of YUKOS oil company, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, from May to August 2010. Earlier, the same court found that the defendants’ detention in custody in the period from August to November was illegal. The court decided that the RF president’s amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), according to which persons who committed crimes in the sphere of business are not subject to arrest, applied to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. Accordingly, the Supreme Court issued a special judgement to Moscow City Court Chair Olga Yegorova turning her attention to the “major law violation.”
The judicial board on criminal cases of the Russian Supreme Court considered the supervisory complaint of Platon Lebedev’s lawyers against the ruling of the Khamovnichesky district court on the extension of his detention in custody from May 17 to August 17, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The Supreme Court decided: Lebedev was in custody for six months illegally. The Supreme Court’s decision was based on the RF president’s amendments to the Russian Criminal Procedure Code. According to these amendments that came into force in 2010, a ban on the arrest of businessmen was introduced. At the same time, nothing was said about them in the resolution of Judge Viktor Danilkin of the Khamovnichesky court on the extension of the custody term for Lebedev, although both his lawyers and Khodorkovsky’s lawyers referred to the new law.
Thus, taking into account the judgement issued in April this year, the Supreme Court recognised that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were illegally kept in a detention facility for six months from the date of amending the Criminal Procedure Code, Kommersant writes. Furthermore, the judicial trio issued a special judgement, but not to the public prosecutors of the prosecutor general, but only to Moscow City Court Chair Olga Yegorova, turning her attention to “a gross violation of law committed in the consideration of supervisory appeals.” The Supreme Court ordered Ms. Yegorova to report to it on the “results of the consideration of this special judgement.” However, the Supreme Court’s decision will not affect the sentence term of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev who, taking into account the unserved term under the first sentence, were given a term of 13 years in prison.
After the meeting, lawyer Konstantin Rivkin told the publication that the “defence lawyers would very much like to hope that this drop of honey in a barrel of tar in the YUKOS case fills up the cup of the Supreme Court.” “And when the lawyers and their clients turn to the Supreme Court with a supervisory appeal against the sentence in the second YUKOS case,” Rivkin continued, “it would finally heed our arguments that the sentence itself was also passed with serious violations and is illegal.”
Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyer Yuri Shmidt explained to Novye Izvestiya that it is impossible to return the lost time to the people who served illegal term. In such a situation they can get only moral satisfaction. “The Supreme Court’s decision is important in terms of recognition of the rightness of our position” the human rights activist said. “The judicial bodies did not make a mistake, but blatantly violated the law, which testifies to their prejudice against the defendants.”