Bakhmina Appeals to Medvedev For Pardon

Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina, who is eight months pregnant, has requested a pardon from President Dmitry Medvedev, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Bakhmina, who has served more than half of a 6 1/2-year sentence in a Mordovia prison for embezzlement and tax evasion, was denied parole last month on the grounds that she had violated prison rules four times early in her sentence and not shown improvements in her behavior since.

"I am absolutely determined to follow a course of correction," Bakhmina, who is the mother of two young children, said in her pardon request, a copy of which was obtained by The Moscow Times.

Bakhmina's lawyer Roman Golovkin said his client would have to wait six weeks or more to receive a reply from Medvedev.

Bakhmina sent the request to the administration of the prison hospital where she is currently a patient on Monday, he said.

A Kremlin spokeswoman said Medvedev "definitely knows" about the request but has not made a decision yet.

Under the law, the prison administration has seven days to send a request to the regional commission for pardon requests.

The commission then has 30 days to forward it to the regional governor, who in turn has 15 days to consider the request before sending it to the president.

Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov said Tuesday that he believed Bakhmina had the right to expect mercy from Medvedev because she had "admitted guilt," Interfax reported.

Last week, seven Public Chamber officials and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called on Medvedev to pardon Bakhmina.

Separately, a Moscow court on Monday ordered former Yukos vice president Vasily Aleksanyan, who is being treated for AIDS-related lymphoma, to remain under armed guard until Jan. 22 while he awaits trial on embezzlement and money-laundering charges, Interfax reported. Human rights activists have called for his release due to the serious nature of his illness.

Also Monday, the Chita regional court ruled to keep Platon Lebedev, a business partner of formes Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in custody until Feb. 2, Interfax reported. Both Lebedev and Khodorkovsky are serving eight-year sentences on charges of fraud and tax evasion.