Russian court rules against Lebedev’s parole appeal

An Arkhangelsk regional court ruled that the earlier refused parole petition by ex-Yukos executive Platon Lebedev was legal, and his current appeal was again refused.

Lebedev and his business partner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, were sentenced to remain in jail until 2016 after a second trial in December. They were first jailed in 2003 on tax evasion charges.

A new parole request can now be filed only in another six months.

Lebedev’s lawyer, Konstantin Rivkin, said the defense intends to appeal the parole denial to the Supreme Court.

Lebedev and Khodorkovsky have both denied all the charges against them, claiming that the Yukos case was revenge by Russia’s powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for Khodorkovsky’s sponsorship of opposition groups in the early 2000s. The Russian authorities have categorically denied the claim.

Khodorkovsky asked for parole in June, but the court refused to consider it. Putin earlier likened him to American gangster Al Capone and said “a thief belongs in jail.”

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