MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday pardoning jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin said.
Putin announced unexpectedly on Thursday that he would pardon Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia's richest man and is seen by Kremlin critics as a political prisoner.
The decree pardoned Khodorkovsky on the basis of "the principles of humanism". The Kremlin said the decree took immediate effect and Russian news agencies quoted a lawyer as saying it was possible that the former Yukos oil company chief could be freed as early as Friday.
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