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Russian court trims jail term for anti Putin tycoon

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 01:40

Aug. 6 - Russia's Supreme Court cuts former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's jail sentence by two months, allowing one of President Putin's biggest critics to walk free in August 2014 after more than a decade behind bars. Lily Grimes reports.

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Once the richest man in Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky now sits in a cage awaiting word from Russia's Supreme Court on when he will be freed. The former oil tycoon was arrested in 2003 and convicted two years later on tax evasion and fraud charges. He and his supporters say this is the result of his political ambitions and a falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin. On Tuesday the verdict came through that his sentence would be shortened by two months, meaning a release date of August 2014. Khodorkovsky appeared at the hearing via video link from a prison in the northwest of the country. Outside the courtroom, Khodorkovsky's mother gave a scathing review of the Russian judiciary. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) KHODORKOVSKY'S MOTHER MARINA KHODORKOVSKAYA, SAYING: "This verdict is exactly what I expected. Because I don't call these people judges. They are not judges, they are officials, I call them announcers in black clothes who just read what they are given from above." His father said simply ''I'm convinced they didn't steal any money, they didn't need it." Khodorkovsky's business partner also had his sentence cut. The businessman's lawyer called the court's decision ''another mockery of justice". "We will continue to fight,'' he says, ''We will continue to fight for the truth.'' The government has said it would consider freeing Khodorkovsky if he requested a pardon, but he reuses to do so, denying the charges against him.

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Russian court trims jail term for anti Putin tycoon

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 01:40