An oil tycoon imprisoned in Russia for 10 years has finally been released.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made headlines this week in freeing Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose father is Jewish. Khordorkovsy was incarcerated for a decade on charges of fraud and tax evasion.
Khodorkovsky released a statement thanking all those who followed his story and fought for his release.
Many individuals believed Khodorkovsky had been the victim of unjust persecution. The entrepreneur was rumored to have political aspirations, which Putin and the Kremlin found threatening.
The Russian president said Thursday: “He has been in jail already more than 10 years. This is a serious punishment.”
Jewish groups praised Khodorkovsky’s release this week, with AJC head David Harris saying, “Whatever the motivation of Russian President Putin to pardon Mikhail Khodorskovsky, his release today is a long overdue, welcome development.”
“Khodorkovsky suffered gross human rights abuses for ten years as a prisoner, who many believe was originally sentenced for politically-motivated reasons, in Russia’s notorious penal system,” said Harris.
“We wish him well as he savors his first days of freedom in Germany, the warm welcome of German officials, and the embrace of his family.”