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    Rights activists urge fair consideration of Khodorkovsky parole request

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    Russian human rights activists published an open letter on Thursday calling for prosecutors to fairly consider a parole petition issued by jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    Russian human rights activists published an open letter on Thursday calling for prosecutors to fairly consider a parole petition issued by jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev issued an appeal for release on parole on Tuesday after a Moscow court upheld a second conviction against them last month. The conviction keeps them in jail until 2016 on what they claim are politically motivated charges of embezzling oil from Yukos and laundering the proceeds.

    "You know perfectly well that they spent more than two years in Moscow detention center, before there were any convictions against them, that they have served nearly all the time of their first sentence and more than half of the second one," said the letter published on the website of human rights organization Moscow Helsinki Group. "We appeal to you to provide fair and lawful processing of their applications."

    The appeal is addressed to the chairman of Moscow's Preobrazhensky court Sergey Bogachev and to the chairman of Moscow City Court Olga Yegorova.

    Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, and Lebedev were jailed in 2003 on embezzlement and tax evasion charges. The two men were near the end of their eight-year prison term when they were sentenced to another six years in jail in December.

    The two men have denied all charges against them, saying that they were revenge for Khodorkovsky's funding of opposition parties during the presidency of Vladimir Putin, something the Russian authorities categorically deny.

    MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) 

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