Today marks the 45th birthday of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of Yukos, who had the audacity to politically challenge former president Putin, and, in so doing, was deprived of his company and sentenced to an eight year term on trumped up charges of tax-evasion and fraud. He has now reached the half way point of his prison sentence and according to Russian law, a prisoner can appeal for early release based on his good behavior. Prison guards have tried on several occasions to claim Khodorkovsky had caused problems but all of their charges were discounted by courts of law.
Many human rights groups hope President Medvedev will order the release of the former head of Yukos, both in the name of justice, and in the hope by so doing he establishes himself as an independent leader not under the control of Putin. There were rallies in several parts of Russia to celebrate the birthday of one whom many consider an individual who was fighting for a more democratic Russia.