Mikhail Khodorkovsky freed (Video)
11:15, — in the world
Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky has left jail.
A decree pardoning him was signed by Putin. Yukos former chief left prison camp No. 7 in Segezha (the Karelia region) after the news about the pardon had appeared. Mikhail Khodorkovsky left jail at about 12:20 (Moscow time), Interfax news agency learnt from a security source.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos company, applied for a pardon after a talk with security services, Kommersant reports on December 20 citing unnamed sources.
The political prisoner was told about the worsening health of his cancer-stricken mother and the possibility of opening a new criminal case against him. After the conversation, which was held without lawyers, Khodorkovsky asked the Russian president for clemency, Kommersant says.
“I am happy Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been released. He spent more than 10 years behind bars. Mikhail Khodorkovsky went through this inhuman ordeal with dignity. I wish him the soonest physical and moral recovery. It is good news and a good New Year's present for all of us and first of all for his family,” Andrei Sannikov, a candidate in the 2010 presidential elections, former political prisoner and leader of the European Belarus civil campaign, told charter97.org.
Valiantsin Stefanovich, a deputy head of Viasna human rights centre, is convinced Mikhail Khodirkovsky was released due to the principled position of the West on human rights violations in Russia.
“I am happy for Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He served a long prison term. When I was reading about the amnesty in Russia that applies to some political prisoners, I thought something like that was possible in Belarus. But the Belarusian authorities apparently want to solve this issue on their own. I think the boycott of the Sochi Olympics and the common position of western countries on the human rights situation in Russia influenced the decision to release Khodorkovsky. I don't know other reasons. Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a symbol of politically motivated prosecution,” Stefanovich told charter97.org.
“I am happy to hear about the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky as if he were my relative or a Belarusian political prisoner. He served a long prison term. Symbolic people – Yuriy Lutsenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Belarusian presidential candidates – were in jail in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
We expect the release of Yulia Tymoshenko, Mikalai Statkevich and all political prisoners in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. I hope it will happen soon,” Zmitser Bandarenka, a coordinator of the civil campaign European Belarus, told charter97.org.
“I am happy for Misha, his mother, father, wife and children. Though signed on the day of security services of Russia, the pardon decree is a rare (for Putin) act of mercy and humanity. If he freed the prisoners in the Bolotnaya Square case, perhaps all would attend the Olympic Games,” Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of the Russian opposition, wrote on Facebook.
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