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Under Pressure, Russia Reduces Khodorkovsky Jail Sentence

Mikhail Khodorkovsky / AP
• August 6, 2013 12:08 pm

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The Russian government cut former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s prison sentence by two months at an appeal hearing on Tuesday, reports the BBC.

Khodorkovsky, once one of the wealthiest people in the world, has been imprisoned for years on what some call politically motivated charges. He is expected to be released next year, according to the BBC:

The court upheld the sentences but reduced each man's sentence by two months, meaning Khodorkovsky, 50, should walk free in August next year, with Lebedev due for release a few months earlier. […]

Once the country's richest man, Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 and convicted of tax evasion two years later. At the time of his arrest, he was seen as sympathising with liberal opposition forces, opposed to Russia's powerful President Vladimir Putin.

Khodorkovsky’s business partner, Platon Lebedev, also had his sentence trimmed by two months.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to nine years in prison, which was later reduced to eight for tax evasion and fraud in 2005. Both pleaded not guilty.

The Russian government brought forth more charges against them in 2010, finding them guilty for money laundering and theft. Their jail time was extended to 2017. The sentencing was later reduced to 2016 and then 2014 after appeals.

The New Republic recently published the letter correspondence between Khodorkovsky and former Polish dissident Adam Michnik in a section titled, "Letters from Jail."

Published under: Russia, Vladimir Putin