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Only 13 people released from prison over three weeks of economic amnesty

July 24, 2013, 11:35 UTC+3
Criminal articles, on which Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny were convicted, are beyond the scope of amnesty
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Thirteen businesspeople were released from prison for three weeks the economic amnesty is in effect in Russia, Russian ombudsman for business rights Boris Titov said on Tuesday. He explained a small number of released people with the changes in the criminal cases. Meanwhile, the ombudsman finds it “legally difficult” to spread the amnesty on oppositionist Alexei Navalny and former YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as the criminal articles, on which they were convicted, are beyond the framework of amnesty.

“So far from 13 amnestied convicts eight people were released from the detention centres, five of them were set free from prisons,” the ombudsman said. Meanwhile, it is possible to judge by these figures only that a long-awaited amnesty was launched, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. But it is too early to sum up even preliminary results, Titov added. “For the initial stage the release of 13 people is already a not quite bad indicator.”

The amnesty procedure includes the processing of a large number of papers and it cannot be passed quickly all the same,” the newspaper quoted Vice-President of the public organization of small and medium business OPORA Rossii Vladislav Korochkin as saying.

The ombudsman explained a small number of released amnestees by the difficulties with the changes in the criminal cases. As Article 159 of the Russian Criminal Code for fraud is beyond the scope of amnesty in general, the convicts on this criminal article will have to address the court for this criminal article to be changed from Article 159.1 to Article 159.4 of the Russian Criminal Code. “The change of the criminal articles is a difficult issue. In some cases it takes place, in some other cases it does not take place,” Titov stated.

In early July Boris Titov told the Kommersant daily that “100,000 convicts or even more” are entitled to amnesty. On Tuesday, he said already about “tens of thousands of convicts.” “As for the release of the former businesspeople from prison, this is thousands of people. This is tens of thousands of people, who are not jailed,” Titov said.

Meanwhile, Titov finds it “legally difficult” to spread the amnesty on oppositionist Alexei Navalny (he is convicted under Article 160 for embezzlement, the court verdict did not take effect yet) and former YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Article 160 and Article 174 of the Russian Criminal Code for the laundering of monetary funds and other property acquired by other people in criminal ways).

“The economic amnesty envisions systemic steps. No concrete people are entitled to a separate decision,” the ombudsman explained. The criminal articles, on which Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny were convicted, are beyond the scope of amnesty.

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