Moscow court 'returns Khodorkovsky parole request'

6th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Russian court on Monday sent back Mikhail Khodorkovsky's request for parole, saying "insufficient" documents had been submitted in the jailed oil tycoon's application, the court's spokeswoman said.

Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev formally requested parole last week after serving over half of prison sentences totalling 13 years.

"The request and accompanying letter have been returned because the court received insufficient accompanying documents and a decision on parole cannot be made," the spokeswoman for Moscow's Khamovnichesky court, Lolita Darchiyeva, told the Interfax news agency.

Khodorkovsky has been in detention since 2003 when he was arrested aboard his jet on the runway of a Siberian airport.

The former magnate and his co-accused Lebedev are serving an eight-year sentence handed down in 2005 for tax evasion. They were scheduled for release this year.

However in December they received a second sentence for fraud, and are now set to stay in jail until 2016. Khodorkovsky has called the charges absurd.

Lebedev's lawyer Konstantin Rivkin told Interfax the defence team would resubmit the request for parole with extra documents including the latest verdict and a higher court decision upholding the men's conviction last month.

But rights defender Lyudmila Alexeyeva said she was sceptical that the lawyers could have made a mistake with their application and suggested it could have been returned as part of "some kind of ruse" on the court's part.

Khodorkovsky's defence team is "so experienced and professional that I doubt they submitted documents that the court cannot accept," she told Interfax.

© 2011 AFP

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