Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Court Reverses Early Release for Lebedev

Among supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev there was cautious optimism when the Velsk court ruled to reduce Lebedev’s sentence in early August, prompting a possible release on March 2, 2013.  Now that optimism has been dashed, like so many other false gestures of clemency.

Shortly after the Velsk court ruling, the prosecutors issued a challenge, arguing that the measure was “excessively lenient.”  Today a court in Arkhangelsk agreed with them, reversing the reduction of Lebdev’s sentence and sending the case back for review, citing a “change in the criminal code.”

The Velsk court on Aug. 8 cut Lebedev’s jail term by term by three years and four months.  Lebedev, 55, along with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, were sentenced to eight-year terms in 2005 and again on related charges in December 2010 in trials that were internationally condemned as politically motivated.

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