President Dimitry Medvedev on assuming office promised the people of Russia he would make certain the court system of the nation was truly independent and free from government control. He is now being challenged to transform words into action. Former Yukos CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was arrested on trumped up charges by former President Putin, and then sentenced to eight years in prison for having the audacity to challenge Putin in a possible race for the presidency, is now asking the courts for a parole after having served half of his sentence. About 50% of non-violent prisoners are released at this point in their prison sentence.
Yury Schmidt, lawyer for Khodorkovsky, is leading the legal battle to free his client. He commented, “If(Medvedev) succeeds in achieving the independence of the courts, it won’t just be reform, but a revolution.” The case will be an indication if President Medvedev is able to carry through on promises to end court control by government. It will also be a test case if he is able to act in an independent manner on a case which challenges the desires of his mentor in life– Putin. After all, medvedev did not put Khodorkovsky in jail.