Among supporters of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev there was cautious optimism when the Velsk court ruled to reduce Lebedev’s sentence in early August, prompting a possible release on March 2, 2013. Now that optimism has been dashed, like so many other false gestures of clemency.
Shortly after the Velsk court ruling, the prosecutors issued a challenge, arguing that the measure was “excessively lenient.” Today a court in Arkhangelsk agreed with them, reversing the reduction of Lebdev’s sentence and sending the case back for review, citing a “change in the criminal code.”
The Velsk court on Aug. 8 cut Lebedev’s jail term by term by three years and four months. Lebedev, 55, along with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, were sentenced to eight-year terms in 2005 and again on related charges in December 2010 in trials that were internationally condemned as politically motivated.