27/7 Tass 409
VELSK, Arkhangelsk region, July 27 (Itar-Tass) – A court in Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk region has turned down a petition by former financier Platon Lebedev for an early parole.
Lebedev, whose jail term ends in 2016, will have an opportunity to file the next petition for a release on parole in six months time.
The prosecutor of the Velsk district, the court of which held the hearings on the petition, spoke against the granting of parole to Lebedev, who once held the post of CEO of the MENATEP financial company.
An official representing the prison where the former financier is serving the term gave an unfavorable characterization to him.
Lebedev and his former close business associate, the CEO of the now defunct oil corporation YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovski were sentenced to fourteen years in jail December 30, 2010, for embezzling crude oil and money laundering.
The defendants and their lawyers appealed the ruling, and the Moscow City court slashed the two men’s sentences by a year May 24, 2011.
Both Khodorkovski and Lebedev, who had served more than a half of their initial terms by the time the Moscow court passed a verdict on them, filed for parole back in Moscow but their petitions were turned down in view of the fact that Lebedev was convoyed to the Arkhangelsk region and Khodorkovski, to the region of Karelia.
Russian human rights expert Lyudmila Alexeyeva, who chairs the so-called Helsinki group, told Itar-Tass in Moscow she “was not surprised a bit” by the ruling of the court in Velsk.
“It was quite expectable,” she said. “The people who steer the plight of these two men have spoken out in clear terms their unwillingness to set them free and I don’t think they’ve changed their decision.”
Still she believes that in spite of the Velsk court ruling, Khodorkovsky should apply for early parole, too.
“I think the court will pass the same kind of ruling in his case, too, but he must apply anyway,” Alexeyeva said.