A Russian court on Thursday upheld a decision to release three years early the co-defendant of the jailed Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
A district court in the northern Arkhangelsk region where Platon Lebedev is serving a jail term on fraud and other charges ruled that Khodorkovsky's former Yukos oil company business partner would be released from jail in July next year, Interfax reported.
This represents a three-year cut from the original release date of October 2016.
The court had issued a similar verdict in August before the decision was put on hold because of a complaint that it was too lenient from the Russian prosecutor's office.
A lawyer for Lebedev had said in August that Lebedev's early release could help set a precedent that allows a judge to also reduce the sentence handed to Khodorkovsky -- Russia's richest man and Putin's most vocal critic at the time of his arrest in October 2003.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were convicted of fraud and tax evasion in their first trial. Their second trial in 2010 -- held months before their scheduled release -- extended their jail stay through 2016 on disputed embezzlement and money laundering charges.