The Freeland File
Global Market Data
Tales from the Trail
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Full Article
Images of March
Dutch coalition to quit in budget row-broadcasters
Hollande edges Sarkozy in French vote, Le Pen surges
22 Apr 2012
GM CEO says to add 600 China dealers in 2012
Norway killer picked victims who had "leftist" look
Chinese President Hu lauds North Korea ties despite tension
Trayvon Martin’s killer showed signs of injury: neighbors
Nugent says had ”solid” meeting with Secret Service
Human-made earthquakes reported in central U.S
Kent State University festival ends in clashes
Sun, Apr 22 2012
Gunfire rings out in Syria
Sun, Apr 22 2012
North Korea 'special action' threat
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Weird world records
From who can wear the most bees to who can unicycle the longest. Slideshow
Protests in Bahrain
Anti-government demonstrations continue in Bahrain. Slideshow
Medvedev pardons one of 32 "political prisoners"
Russia's Putin calls for unity but opponents walk out
Wed, Apr 11 2012
Grisly death fuels tales of Russian police torture
Thu, Apr 5 2012
"Londongrad" on edge after attack on Russian banker
Mon, Apr 2 2012
Obama seeks to defuse controversy on missile comments
Tue, Mar 27 2012
Analysis & Opinion
Make no entangling foreign frenemies
Russian Orthodox Church takes a divisive political gamble on Vladimir Putin
By Alexei Anishchuk
Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:12pm EDT
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday pardoned a man on a list of 32 people who opposition activists consider political prisoners, but gave no clue whether he might free others in his last two weeks in the Kremlin.
Medvedev, who will be replaced as president by Vladimir Putin on May 7, signed a decree pardoning Sergei Mokhnatkin, 58, and 13 others. The Kremlin said on its website that the decision was "guided by the principles of humanity".
None of the others pardoned was on the list of 32 "political prisoners", including former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, submitted to Medvedev in February by opposition politicians who had demanded their release during large street protests.
"The very fact that this has happened is positive, but ... one is not a lot; he (Medvedev) should pardon all the people on this list," Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, told Reuters by telephone.
The Kremlin gave no reason for the pardons and said nothing about the others on the list. Khodorkovsky's supporters say is the victim of a Kremlin-driven campaign of punishment for perceived challenges to Putin.
Mokhnatkin was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in prison on charges of violence against a police officer during an opposition rally in December 2009. He denied the charges, saying he had been defending a woman and not even attending the rally.
His jailing was seen by Kremlin opponents as an example of unjust law enforcement practices and a overly harsh approach to street protests, which are frequently broken up by police when they are held without prior permission from the authorities.
Yuri Shmidt, one of Khodorkovsky's lawyers, said he had expected one or two people from the list to be pardoned.
"This is pure show. It does not serve as a signal to Khordorkovsky at all because if the authorities had wanted to free him they would have long since found a way to do it and have done it," he said.
Medvedev, who was seen as the junior partner to Putin after the older man steered him into office in 2008, was accused by critics of failing to strengthen the justice system and improve the rule of law despite voicing ambitious plans to do so.
For liberals who hoped Medvedev's term would bring reform of the courts, one of the biggest disappointments was Khodorkovsky's second conviction, in 2010, on theft and money laundering charges he dismissed as absurd.
The Kremlin denies there are political prisoners in Russia, but Medvedev had asked prosecutors to look into the legality of 32 criminal cases, including Khodorkovsky's, on the basis of requests from the opposition and his Human Rights Council.
Unlike Mokhnatkin, Khodorkovsky has not asked for a pardon, which many state officials say requires an admission of guilt. Many lawyers and rights activists argue that the president can pardon someone without either a request or an admission of guilt.
Medvedev, whom Putin has said he will name prime minister after his inauguration, has indicated he will not grant a pardon anyone who has not requested one, but has not spelled out his position on admission of guilt.
(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Be the first to comment on reuters.com.
Add yours using the box above.
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.