News / Europe

Khodorkovsky Arrives in Germany Following Release From Russian Prison

Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (r) welcoming Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the airport in Berlin-Schoenefeld, Dec. 20, 2013.
Former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (r) welcoming Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky at the airport in Berlin-Schoenefeld, Dec. 20, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrived in Berlin on Friday after being released from prison. He left Russia just hours after President Vladimir Putin signed a pardon for him - ending more than 10 years of detention for tax evasion and embezzlement.

The former Yukos oil company head - viewed by many as a political prisoner - was greeted by former German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport.

In a statement following his release Friday, Khodorkovsky said he asked the Russian president on November 12 to pardon him in connection with "family circumstances" and that he was "glad" the response was positive.

"The issue of admission of guilt was not raised," Khodorkovsky said in the statement.

Russia's federal prison service said Friday that Khodorkovsky had sought permission to travel to Germany, where his mother had been receiving medical treatment.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev, right, are escorted to a court room in Moscow, 27 Dec 2010Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev, right, are escorted to a court room in Moscow, 27 Dec 2010
x
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev, right, are escorted to a court room in Moscow, 27 Dec 2010
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, and his co-defendant Platon Lebedev, right, are escorted to a court room in Moscow, 27 Dec 2010
Putin said earlier Friday on his website that he was pardoning the longtime Kremlin critic for humanitarian reasons.

The White House welcomed the pardon, calling it a "humanitarian gesture" and "a positive development for Russian society." But National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden also voiced concern about what she described as "politically motivated investigations and selective prosecutions in Russia."

Putin first announced his intention to free Khodorkovsky during a lengthy news conference Thursday that covered a wide range of topics. At that time, he said Khodorkovsky had, for the first time, requested a pardon because his mother is ill.  

Putin also said two members of the Pussy Riot punk rock band will be freed on amnesty.

His announcements come ahead of Russia hosting the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in February. The lead-up to the event has put Russia's human rights record in the spotlight.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 266 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
December 20, 2013 8:55 PM
The entire world should Boycott the Russian Olympics because of Russia arming the criminal Bashar al Assad to kill his own people.
This would be a great thing if noone showed up!!! Im serious!


by: Doug from: Canada
December 20, 2013 7:56 PM
I hope that he decides to remain in Germany and seek
political asylum for Russia under Putin is going slowly back to
the old soviet days of unjustly persecuting its citizens

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid