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Official Says Medvedev Rules Against Khodorkovsky Pardon

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The head of the Russian government's Human Rights Council has quashed speculation that imprisoned former Yukos oil company chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, may soon be released.

Mikhail Fedotov said that outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev had rejected a recommendation by experts saying that Khodorkovsky did not have to admit guilt in order to receive a presidential pardon.

Khodorkovsky was convicted twice on fraud charges and is currently set to remain in jail until 2017.

Khodorkovsky denies wrongdoing.

His supporters say his prosecutions have been punishment by the Kremlin for Khodorkovsky's support for the opposition and for posing a potential political challenge to the rule of Vladimir Putin.

Medvedev ordered a review of Khodorkovsky's conviction on the eve of Vladimir Putin's reelection to a third term as president in early March.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax