Susanne Scholl, Moscow Bureau Chief for Austrian Public Television, writing in the Moscow Times:
Colonel Yury Budanov is a convicted rapist and murderer. After serving half of his 10-year prison sentence for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old Chechen, Elza Kungayeva, he was released in January on parole for good behavior.
Svetlana Bakhmina worked as a lawyer for former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In 2004, she was arrested and sentenced in 2006 to 6 1/2 years on embezzlement and tax fraud charges. Like Budanov, she applied for early release from prison in 2008. Her request was refused, as was her earlier plea in 2006 to suspend her sentence until her two small sons reached the age of 14 — a request she was entitled to make under Russian law.