• eng
21:13 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
Live
Russia

Moscow court orders ex-Yukos lawyer released on parole

Russia
000
A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the release on parole of Svetlana Bakhmina, a mother of three and former lawyer for now defunct oil company Yukos, jailed on embezzlement and tax evasion charges.

MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered the release on parole of Svetlana Bakhmina, a mother of three and former lawyer for now defunct oil company Yukos, jailed on embezzlement and tax evasion charges.

The case has attracted much attention, with Kremlin critics saying Bakhmina was a political prisoner along with other Yukos executives in the politically motivated crackdown on the oil giant and its now jailed founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Bakhmina, 39, was still to serve a little more than two years of her 6-1/2-year prison term. She gave birth to a daughter last November while in prison. Her parole appeals had been turned down by a court in the Volga republic of Mordovia, where she served her sentence, several times before.

"The court heard the arguments of the defense lawyers, prosecutor, and penitentiary officials and believes it possible to uphold the parole request for Svetlana Bakhmina," Judge Irina Vyrysheva said, reading the ruling.

A prosecutor in the case told reporters the state would not appeal the ruling.

"The prosecution will not file an appeal against the ruling, which is lawful and grounded," Anton Davydov said.

Khodorkovsky, who is on trial on fresh embezzlement and money laundering charges that could add 21 years to the eight-year jail term he is already serving, welcomed Bakhmina's release, his lawyer said.

"I am happy. But all the same I feel a moral responsibility for this woman's destiny," Natalya Terekhova quoted the former oil tycoon as saying.

The lawyer said Bakhmina had become a hostage to the situation surrounding Yukos.

Family friend Denis Silyutin said Bakhmina would be released with her baby later on Tuesday. Silyutin said her husband would take them home from an unspecified Moscow clinic where she had been held with her 5-month-old daughter.

He added that Bakhmina planned to work in an organization offering legal support to businesses after taking her maternity leave.