Russian oil tycoon to file for parole

2011-05-30 20:10

Moscow - Imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky intends to file for parole, his lawyer told The Associated Press on Monday.

A Moscow appeals court last week upheld the second conviction of Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, keeping him behind bars until 2016 on politically tainted charges of stealing oil from his own company.

He is eligible for early release since he has served half of his 13-year sentence. It would be Khodorkovsky's second parole motion; his first was denied in 2008 by a judge who cited Khodorkovsky's refusal to take part in sewing classes while in prison, and other alleged misdemeanors including failure to hold his hands behind his back during a prison walk.

Khodorkovsky's lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant refused to say when the parole request would be submitted. Khodorkovsky is still expected to appeal his second conviction at the Supreme Court.

The oil magnate received a sentence of 8 years for his first conviction, and of 13 years for his second, but a judge ordered they run concurrently.

Khodorkovsky was seen as a political threat to Vladimir Putin, who was president in 2003 when Khodorkovsky was arrested, and who remains Russia's most powerful leader now that he is prime minister.

Khodorkovsky is still in a Moscow pre-trial detention centre, awaiting transfer to a prison camp. Lawyers say it's unclear where he will serve out his sentence, Klyuvgant said.

The state-controlled national television network NTV ran a rare, seemingly balanced piece on Khodorkovsky late Sunday, in which he is cited as saying he "refuses to acknowledge the court decisions" and that "I will try to exercise my right to an early release" in written responses to the station's questions.

Coverage of Khodorkovsky in the Russian media, which Putin brought to heel in his first term as president from 2000 to 2004, has been overwhelmingly negative.

The European Court of Human Rights is expected to deliver a judgement on Tuesday on whether Khodorkovsky's rights were violated after his arrest in 2003. His lawyers protested the conditions in the prison where he was kept, an allegedly unlawful arrest, and the political motives behind his prosecution.

- AP
Read more on:    mikhail khodorkovsky  |  vladimir putin  |  russia
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