Trouser Injustice

All signs would suggest that it would take a regime change, if not a miracle, to see Mikhail Khodorkovsky or Platon Lebedev  granted freedom from their 13-year sentences for tax and fraud charges, so it is scarcely surprising that the flimsiest of reasons is enough to keep them in.  That said, many eyebrows were raised by the risible grounds for refusing Alexander Lebedev parole, that of losing a pair of trousers.  Khodorkovsky apparently plans to appeal anyway.  What will it be for him?  Soap-stealing?  Shower evasion?  The pants pretext has it seems, even ruffled the feathers of one senior United Russia lawmaker.  From the Moscow Times:

In a rare public outburst, a senior United Russia deputy offered on Thursday to personally pay an Arkhangelsk region prison for a missing pair of trousers that cost former Yukos co-owner Platon Lebedev his appeal for parole this week.

Lyubov Sliska, who serves as a deputy State Duma speaker, criticized the two-day parole hearing as “irritating performance” that discredits the country’s law enforcement system, Interfax reported.

Prison officials told the court in the town of Velsk, where Lebedev has been incarcerated since June, that they opposed his parole appeal because he had allegedly lost his prison-issued trousers, robe and slippers and improperly spoken to a mid-level official on a first-name basis.

“I am a lawyer, and I can’t take these arguments seriously,” Sliska said, calling the alleged violations “petty harassment.”

National ombudsman Vladimir Lukin also dismissed Wednesday’s ruling as “laughable,” Interfax said.

Read the whole article here.