Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Monday asked Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to intercede on behalf of a Russian teacher accused of using pirated software in his classroom.
In an open letter, Nobel Peace Prize winner Gorbachev said the teacher, Alexander Ponosov, from a remote village in the Urals, should be shown mercy because he did not know he was committing a crime.
"A teacher, who has dedicated his life to the education of children and who receives a modest salary that does not bear comparison with the salaries of even regular staff in your company, is threatened with detention in Siberian prison camps," read the letter, posted on the Internet site of Gorbachev's charitable foundation gorby.ru.
Alexander Posonov, is a teacher in a remote village in the Urals, Russia and he was found using pirated programs to teach his classes. World Trade Organization has requested Russia to take strong actions against software Piracy, which Russia has started doing after many years of request.
As part of their drive, they arrested this teacher Alexander Ponosov for violating Microsoft's intellectual property rules by using computers in his school that contained licensed copies of Microsoft's software. Former President Mikhail Gorbachev heard about this teacher's plight and is requesting Bill Gates to show mercy on the teacher.
"We have great respect for the work of Microsoft's programmers ... and are in no way casting doubt on the principle of punishment for intellectual property violations.
"However, in this case we ask you to show mercy and withdraw your complaint against Alexander Ponosov,"
his letter said.
Mr. Gorbachev also said, that gesture will make everyone who use Microsoft products happy.
We don't know the whole case to judge. But I can tell you this, the schools in Moscow especially the rural area are not heavily funded. Sometimes they are left with scrap to survive, in this case I don't see this teacher is using for his own personal gains, instead he is teaching the children in the school. Gates is giving billions of dollars to charity, he should do the right thing and show mercy to the teacher as Gorbachev as requested. And also he should do more for this school, he can afford it.