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MOSCOW, April 3 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev refused to pardon former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky without his petition for pardon. The head of state disagreed with arguments of famous lawyers, who insist that a convict should not obligatorily petition for pardon. Medvedev had not motivated his position – he enjoys such a right.
Dmitry Medvedev turned down an expert conclusion for issuing pardons that the presidential human rights council handed over to him, the council’s head, Mikhail Fedotov, told the Izvestiya daily. “He did not agree with the experts' conclusion. He believes that the president should not pardon those, who did not petition for pardon,” Fedotov said.
There is even indirectly no slightest hint in his resolution why the head of state rejected an expert opinion, the daily wrote. Fedotov said the president does not have to motivate his resolution.
As a result ten authoritative experts announced that “a convict can be pardoned without petition, without agreement or approval and even against a convict’s will.”
A source in the Kremlin explained to the Izvestiya daily that the president’s position on Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s case has not changed. Dmitry Medvedev insists that the ex-Yukos head should petition for pardon. “The president believes that he can pardon only those, who ask him about this,” the source said.
Famous lawyer Yevgeny Chernousov noted that the granting of a pardon to Khodorkovsky would score the authorities more points. “The president himself should initiate a pardon process despite any rows, contradictions, different judgments in relation to these or those persons remaining behind the bars.”
Only those sentenced to life in prison have the right not to petition for pardon, as it is an exclusive measure of punishment; in all other cases a convict should express his/her will, said Tatyana Moskalkova, a State Duma parliamentarian, who served as a consultant for the pardon department of the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR (the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). “A petition for pardon should not always mean the admission of guilt. The pardon institution is something like the parole institution. A person is convicted and serves a prison term and by his/her behavior a convict demonstrates that he/she can return to the society and poses no threat to it,” she said.
The last attempt to influence the president’s opinion will be taken this month, when the presidential human rights council will gather for its last meeting to sum up the results of its four-year activity. Fedotov noted that then the Yukos case will be put on the agenda again.