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Presidential Council proposes to pardon Khodorkovsky and Lebedev

February 03, 2012, 14:00 UTC+3
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The Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights of Russia plans to amend the rules of issuing a pardon that would exclude admission of guilt as the requirement for issuing a pardon or release on parole. Moreover, the Council compiled the list of those prisoners who may be pardoned. Ex-Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky was put on this list. The Kremlin has not received these proposals so far.

On Thursday the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights voiced  its initiatives to liberalize the criminal legislation, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported. They focus on easier procedures for issuing a pardon and release on parole as well as on an opportunity for a jury trial to consider economic cases.

Moreover, the Council proposed to pardon all those who were convicted for non-violent offences, including financial crimes, the daily reported. Aside from ex-Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his associate Platon Lebedev, the former head of Menatep, the Council included into the list of pardons Manezhnaya Square riot convicts, several entrepreneurs, scientists sentenced for divulgence of state secrets and even those, who are arrested for involvement in terrorist activities, including Zara Murtazaliyeva (who planned to detonate the Okhotny Ryad shopping mall in central Moscow).

Human rights activists from thePresidential Council invented how the head of state can pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky despite his will,  RBK noted. On Thursday the Council announced that it planned to offer the president to change the pardoning rules, excluding an admission of guilt as the requirement for applying for a pardon or release on parole. The main question is whether the incumbent or incoming leader will pardon Russia’s most famous prisoner. Putin’s headquarters noted that such an idea is really discussed “among other things.”

In December most candidates for presidency unexpectedly announced about their intention to pardon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in case of becoming president, the daily reminded. His lawyers announced in response that their defender will not plead guilty and as a result will not ask for a pardon.

In this respect, the Council’s proposal looks like an unexpected compromise. The Kremlin declined to comment the initiatives to RBK daily. The Council also assured that it did not conduct consultations with the Kremlin yet. “This issue has not been discussed with the president’s administration, because the Council is a public consultative structure,” the Council’s head, Mikhail Fedotov, said adding that the relevant initiatives have not been handed over to the Kremlin yet. “The meeting was scheduled for October, but was postponed several times, and now I have no understanding when it will finally take place.”

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