Lawyer: Court should have freed Khodorkovsky's business partner instead of cutting his term

A lawyer has argued that the court that reduced the prison term of Platon Lebedev, who was a business partner to former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, would have been best-advised to release Lebedev immediately.

"I'm convinced that this would have been the only lawful solution to this specific problem," Vadim Klyuvgant, a defense attorney for Khodorkovsky, told Interfax. "I leave aside the entire situation that all this is generally a frame-up and a lot of lawlessness from beginning to end."

The town court of Velsk, in the Arkhangelsk region, issued a ruling on Thursday that cuts Lebedev's term to 10 years and means he is due to be released in July 2013, though the prosecution may appeal.

"I'm convinced that, in terms of the specific matter that was dealt with in the Velsk Court on Thursday, this would have been a completely lawful and completely just decision to make," Klyuvgant said in reference to Lebedev's suggested immediate release. "The Velsk Court had all the legal powers for this. But apparently that is the way they assess the limits to their powers."

"Let's first wait for the ruling to come into force, because it may be appealed," the lawyer said.

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