British MPs Respond to Khodorkovsky Pardon

December 20, 2013

As reactions to today’s pardoning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky begin pouring in from around the world, several British Members of Parliament have issued comments welcoming the decision and commenting on the human rights situation in Russia.

Minister for Europe David Lidington MP: “I welcome Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s release from prison. This is good news for Mr Khodorkovsky and his family.

Since his imprisonment in 2003, the UK Government has consistently raised concerns about the flaws in the Russian judicial process highlighted by Mr Khodorkovsky’s case. I discussed these concerns with Mr Khodorkovsky’s son when I met him in October.

“This government has called on the Russian authorities to strengthen the rule of law, tackle corruption and promote independence of the judiciary, and will continue to do so.”

Robert Buckland MP (Chair of the Conservative Human Rights Committee): “I am very pleased to learn today that Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been released from jail, following a pardon from President Vladimir Putin. As the chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, I have spoken in Parliament many times about the troubling human rights situation in Russia and Mr Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment in particular.

This is a welcome step forwards for justice and human rights in Russia. It was always clear that Mr Khodorkovsky had been imprisoned for a decade for purely political reasons and whilst this pardon does not make up for the grave injustice done to him and his family, it is a positive move by Russia in the run-up to February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Nonetheless, other injustices remain, such as the brutal treatment and posthumous trial of the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who exposed a $230 million fraud against the Russian state, was incarcerated and died at the hands of Russian officials as reward for his work, and then posthumously charged with the fraud he exposed in a barbaric twist of fate. I hope Mr Khodorkovsky’s release signals that we will see further progress on Russia’s human rights record in the months to come.

Richard Ottaway MP, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee:I am delighted that MK has been released from jail, bringing an end to his ten long years of incarceration. I wish him and his family well in what will be a wonderful reunion this holiday season.

But whilst his release is a welcome sign that Russia understands international concerns about the human rights agenda, there is still more work to do and still more people whose questionable imprisonment requires their immediate release, such as Platon Lebedev. We look forward to that day too.”

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