Russian Pardon Effort Tests Medvedev
Thousands sign online petition to free woman jailed by mentor Putin
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2008 9:22 AM CST
Women rally to demand the release of jailed Russian lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina in Moscow, Nov. 12, 2008. Kremlin critics say her conviction was politically motivated.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A grassroots effort to pardon a convicted lawyer could allow Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to bolster the liberal image he's worked to create, but to issue the reprieve he must stand up to Vladimir Putin. Svetlana Bakhmina was arrested during one of Putin’s crackdowns on corruption at state oil company Yukos, and her case has drawn nationwide coverage, reports the Washington Post.

Now pregnant with her third child, Bakhmina has seen her young sons only once since her arrest 4 years ago. Despite being reportedly a model prisoner, her parole requests have twice been denied. Since an online petition for her pardon began, her own pardon request has been withdrawn—one of many strange, often contradictory, pieces of information divulged by the Kremlin.