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Former Yukos Oil executive applies for early release from Siberia prison

[JURIST] Lawyers for former Russian oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday filed an application for his parole from the Krasnokamensk penal colony [Guardian Khodorkovsky backgrounder] in Siberia. Khodorkovsky headed the now-bankrupt OAO Yukos Oil Co. [Time backgrounder] and was sent to prison by the Russian government in 2005 to serve an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion [JURIST report]. Last month Khodorkovsky's lawyers advised him to apply for parole [AP report], saying approval is more likely under newly-inaugurated president Dmitry Medvedev [BBC profile] than it would have been under former president Vladimir Putin. Prison officials have said that the parole application will likely be rejected [BBC report] because of past poor behavior, and Khodorkovsky is now facing 20 more years in prison if convicted on new charges [press release; Bloomberg report] of theft and money laundering. AFP has more. RIA Novosti has local coverage.

Russian prosecutors indicted Khodorkovsky on additional money laundering charges [JURIST report] in early 2007. Khodorkovsky, an opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has always maintained his innocence and insisted that the charges against him are politically motivated, but Russian prosecutors have denied the accusations [JURIST report].

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