Former Yukos Oil Co. CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Former Yukos Oil Co. CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Putin has signed a decree pardoning Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin said. Khodorkovsky, lloking through a glass wall of the defendants' cage just after his verdict during a court session in Moscow. Russia hailed on September 20, 2011, the European Court of Human Rights' decision on Yukos, saying it exonerated it of charges of trying to destroy Mikhail Khodorkovsky's former oil firm, Yukos. A Moscow court on December 30, 2010 sentenced Khodorkovsky to 14 years in jail in his second fraud trial, a verdict slammed as cruel and absurd by rights activists. The reading of the verdict in the packed courtroom was the culmination of the most controversial trial in Russia's post Soviet history which critics said was staged simply to punish Khodorkovsky for daring to oppose Putin. AFP PHOTO / DMITRY KOSTYUKOV (Photo credit should read DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images)