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Putin pays a birthday visit to a Russian human rights icon, who says he agreed to a special pardon

Source: Interfax

This Thursday, Vladimir Putin stopped by the home of Lyudmila Alexeyeva, an icon of Russia’s human rights movement, to wish the 90-year-old woman a happy birthday. It wasn’t all light banter and champagne, however. Alexeyeva says she convinced the president to pardon Igor Izmestiev, a former Russian senator and entrepreneur convicted in 2010 of organizing multiple homicides.

“I know, Mr. Putin, that you always live up to your promises. He said, ‘Yes.’ Now tomorrow I’ll deliver the good news to Igor Izmestiev’s mother, because I believe that the president will fulfill his promise,” Alexeyeva told reporters on Thursday, describing her conversation with the president.

Kremlin Press Service

“I told the president, ‘This isn’t a gift, it’s a request. Do a good deed: pardon Igor Izmestiev,’” Alexeyeva said.

Interfax

Igor Izmestiev served as a senator from Bashkortostan from 2001 to 2006. He’s also worked in the oil business. In 2007, Russian Federal Security Service agents detained Izmestiev in the Bishkek airport on suspicion of murdering the wife of one of his former business partners. In 2010, a Russian court sentenced him to life in prison for organizing multiple homicides, as well as an attempt on the life then Bashkortostani President Murtaza Rakhimov’s son. Investigators argued that Izmestiev had ties to a notorious mafia based in Kingisepp, outside St. Petersberg.

Photo on front page: Kremlin Press Service