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After Putin pardon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky walks free, reaches Germany

Putin, who is known for marathon press conferences, had announced the surprise decision yesterday in an annual presser, when asked about Khodorkovsky.



Zee Media Bureau

Moscow: After being freed from jail after a decade, Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky reached Germany where his sick mother is recieving treatment, Russian news reports said Friday.

Having spent 10 years in jail, Khodorkovsky walked free out of jail today after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree pardoning him.

The prison chief had confirmed Khodorkovsky’s release, his spokeswoman Olga Pispanen told a news agency.

Khodorkovsky walked out of the jail eight months before his scheduled release as Putin had announced yesterday his decision to pardon him.

Putin, who is known for marathon press conferences, had announced the surprise decision yesterday in an annual presser, when asked about Khodorkovsky.

Explaining his move, Putin cited that Khodorkovsky, formerly the richest man of Russia and also Putin’s top political foe, had asked for a pardon.

"He has been in jail already more than ten years... this is a serious punishment... He cites humanitarian reasons. His mother is ill, “Putin said.

However, neither Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, nor his mother said being aware of any such pardon sought by the jailed oil tycoon.

Talking to a news agency, Khodorkovsky’s mother Marina said, "I want to believe he will pardon him," she told Reuters. "I want to believe Putin is not totally lost."

Khodorkovsky’s son Pavel Khodorkovsky said on Twitter, he was very happy about his father’s release.

Khordorkovsky, who has already spent over a decade in jail, was convicted of crimes including fraud, theft and money laundering and arrested in 2003.

Kremlin opponents say that the tycoon was framed as he was posing a threat to Putin and hence was his top political enemy.

Other than Khordorkovsky, Putin is also expected to free other prisoners, including Greenpeace activists and the punk group Pussy Riot.

Putin’s move is said to be an attempt at placating the international chorus of criticism against Russia’s human rights record ahead of February`s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

From Zee News

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