Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a review of the legality of the conviction of former business tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
A strong critic of the Kremlin, Khodorkovsky was once Russia’s richest man but was jailed on fraud and tax evasion charges after being arrested in 2003.
The move is being seen as an attempt to placate protesters opposed to Vladimir Putin, but some human rights campaigners see things differently
“It is a kind of a political game,” said Lyudmila Alexeyeva, “I am not a specialist in political games, I am not a politician. But for me it is clear that this announcement is a gesture made for fools and imbeciles.”
Khodorkovsky’s case is one of 32 that will be reviewed. The announcement was made by the Kremlin one day after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin won Russia’s presidential election.
Many people in Russia and abroad view his convictions as political revenge for daring to support opposition politicians.