Jailed Yukos Ex-Lawyer Gives Birth

Former Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina, who is serving a six-and-a-half-year prison term on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, gave birth to a daughter in a prison hospital on Friday, people close to her family said, Interfax reported Friday.

Bakhmina, who also has two young sons, had applied for parole in late summer after serving half of her sentence and receiving confirmations of good behavior from prison authorities.

The good references and time served qualified Bakhmina, under Russian law, for early release and a suspended sentence for the remainder of her term or to postponement of the term until her children reach the age of 18.

In September, a local court in the republic of Mordovia, where Bakhmina was serving her sentence, refused to grant her request for early release. She applied for a presidential pardon in October but then withdrew her request. The reasons for the withdrawal remain unclear.

The plight of the former Yukos lawyer has stirred public sentiment. As of Friday, almost 88,000 people had signed an online public petition at the web site Bakhmina.ru, calling on President Dmitry Medvedev for a pardon.

Earlier in November, Bakhmina was moved from Mordovia to a maternity hospital in the Moscow region, where she gave birth.

Mordovia's Supreme Court is expected to consider her appeal against the denial of early release on Dec. 24.