Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Supreme Court: Khodorkovsky Was Arrested Illegally

Russia’s Supreme Court held illegal a lower court decision to extend the term of the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev for the period from May 17 to August 17, 2010. The Court also demanded Moscow Court Chairperson Olga Yegorova to “pay attention to the gross violations of the law committed during the consideration of appeals.” Earlier the Supreme Court found illegal the extension of the arrest term from August 17 to November 17, 2010. After serving a large part of their first prison term, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were formally arrested on new charges and brought to Moscow to stand new trial. The term of the arrest was repeatedly extended during the trial. The defense challenged the extensions, pointing out that under newly adopted legislation, defendants in economic cases normally should not be imprisoned. (In fact, the formal lifting of the arrest would not have resulted in the release of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, since they still had to serve their first term, but could have resulted in a milder prison regime.) Now the Supreme Court has agreed with the defense. Nevertheless, under the second sentence, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev should serve their prison term until 2016.


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