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Amnesty Sought for Khodorkovsky

The Kremlin's human rights council called for an amnesty for economic crimes that would apply to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed former billionaire head of Yukos Oil.

"An amnesty can't exclude specific individuals," Tamara Morshchakova, a member of the council set up in February by President Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters Thursday in Moscow. "It would apply to all people accused of these crimes."

Khodorkovsky, the country's richest man when he was arrested on the tarmac of a Siberian airport in October 2003, was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2005 and oil embezzlement in December 2010. He will spend a total of 13 years in prison, including the eight years he is serving on previous charges, after the Moscow City Court rejected an appeal to overturn his conviction in May.

Last month, Khodorkovsky was sent to a penal colony in Segezh in the Karelia republic, near Finland, after previously serving his sentence in a prison in the Chita region near the border with China.

Medvedev said May 18, while calling for faster action to modernize the economy, that freeing Khodorkovsky would not be "dangerous" for Russia.

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