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Russian human rights official appeals ruling against Khodorkovsky

The Human Rights Ombudsman [backgrounder] in Russia, Vladimir Lukin [official profile], filed an appeal in a Moscow court on Tuesday following the ruling against Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive], the former CEO of Yukos, and his business partner Platon Lebedev [JURIST news archive]. Lukin filed the appeal [RIA Novosti report] because the two men were ordered to pay restitution for the same losses twice, once in 2005 and once in 2010. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are serving prison sentences for fraud, theft and money laundering. Khodorkovsky maintains his innocence and alleges that the charges are retribution for funding opposition parties during the presidency of Vladimir Putin [BBC profile].

Earlier this month, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had their sentences commuted [JURIST report] by the Moscow City Court from 13 years to 11 years, making both men eligible for release in 2014. In July, a senior Russian judge ordered [JURIST report] a court to review Khodorkovsky's appeal. Opposition leaders and other groups have expressed skepticism concerning the validity of the conviction and many believe it was politically motivated. In 2010, former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov [BBC profile] testified [JURIST report] before the Khamovnichesky District Court and stated that Khodorkovsky's arrest was ordered by Vladimir Putin for political reasons.

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