Khodorkovsky wins chance at appeal

AFP-JIJI

Russia’s Supreme Court said Sunday it will hear an appeal against the second conviction of jailed former oil tycoon and fierce Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The surprise announcement means that Russia’s former richest man — behind bars since 2003 — could walk free years before his second sentence on charges of money laundering and embezzlement expires in 2016.

The country’s highest court posted the decision on its website without explaining which part of Khodorkovsky’s conviction it will review or when the hearing will take place.

The prospect of Khodorkovsky’s possible release has the potential to boost Russia’s flagging opposition movement as well as improve Moscow’s deteriorating relations with the United States.