Moscow court reduces Khodorkovsky sentence by one year

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A Moscow appeals court on Tuesday reduced the jail term of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky by one year, meaning the fierce Kremlin critic may now be released from prison in 2016.

A judge ruled that Khodorkovsky and his fellow prisoner and former business associate Platon Lebedev will have to serve "13 years each in a general security prison," an AFP correspondent reported from court.

Both men had been scheduled for release this year, but a judge convicted the two in December on separate fraud charges and extended their jail time until 2017.

Khodorkovsky's detention began when he was snatched off his private jet in 2003 in the heat of a power struggle with the Kremlin, during which he tried to influence Russia's energy policies and financed various opposition parties.

© 2011 AFP

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