Putin Says Khodorkovsky Release to Depend on Medvedev

Here is the latest from Reuters on the press conference following German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow:

Putin: Medvedev to decide on oil tycoon’s pardon MOSCOW, March 8 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that it would be up to his successor Dmitry Medvedev to decide whether to pardon convicted criminals, including jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A Kremlin source told Reuters the existing procedure for a presidential pardon requires anyone who wants to be pardoned to first admit their guilt and file a request.Khodorkovsky says he is innocent.Putin was asked at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel whether Khodorkovsky would be pardoned.”If we suppose that the procedure required by law is observed, then the question of pardoning is in the competence of the head of state, the president of the Russian Federation,” Putin said.Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 in what was widely regarded as a Kremlin campaign to punish the tycoon for his political ambitions. The arrest was widely criticised in the West and a number of politicians have called for his release.”We would really welcome such a move (pardoning Khodorkovsky),” Merkel told the news conference.Khodorkovsky is currently serving an eight-year term in a Siberian jail and may face trial on a new set of charges this year. (Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Jon Boyle)