MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti)
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An advisory council to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for the second conviction against ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky to be overturned.
“Taking into account effective means of legal support which are present in the national judicial system, it is necessary to raise with the Prosecutor General the issue of appealing the current verdict in order to annul it,” the president’s council on human rights and civil society said in a report.
Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were convicted in a second trial in December last year. The trial was widely condemned abroad as unfair.
The two were first arrested in 2003 and sentenced in 2005 for fraud and tax evasion.
The council said there were “fundamental violations” during the investigation and advised Russia’s Investigative Committee to re-launch it.
It also said that those jailed for economic crimes should be granted amnesty in order to “restore public trust in law enforcement bodies and the courts.”
A great number of people have been jailed “unfairly,” and there have been no “efficient procedures to correct the mistakes of the law enforcement and judicial systems,” the council said.
Last year, President Medvedev signed a law banning the detention of suspects charged with economic crimes.
Former Constitutional Court judge Tamara Morshakova said there was “no evidence” to support the theft and embezzlement charges against Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man.
He was found guilty of stealing 200 million tons of oil from his own firm Yukos and laundering the proceeds.
“What was said to be stolen belonged to the company and benefited all stock holders,” Morshakova told reporters.
“There are no norms in the Russian Criminal code to assess the actions of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as criminal,” she added.
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