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Russian and Estonian Pilots Are Freed in Tajikistan
23.11.2011 11:05
Russian and Estonian Pilots Are Freed in Tajikistan

On Tuesday, a court in Tajikistan freed the Russian and Estonian pilots who earlier had been sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for forced border violations and charges for smuggling. Such decision of the court has become possible only after two weeks of diplomatic talks and other measures made by the Russian authorities. 

      The pilots of the "Investments Ltd" air company, Russian Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian Alexei Rudenko, were discharged in the courtroom. Their term of imprisonment was decreased by 2,5 years and then by two more years, according to general amnesty of Tajikistan. The last half a year had been already done by the pilots during pretrial incarceration.

      Vladimir Sadovnichy thanked Russian authorities and Dmitry Kabaev, the member of Russian Embassy in Tajikistan, for the support. "After I met him in person, I understood that Russia is with me and it won't forsake me," said the pilot. 

      In their turn, the Russian Foreign Ministry and Estonian Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, hailed the decision of the court. Russian and Estonian diplomats had worked closely with Tajikistan and EU officials on the issue.

      Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko were arrested after flying into southern Tajikistan in March and jailed on November 8. Their forced landing in the airport of Kurgan-Tube city because of fuel lack was considered as a border violation by Tajikistan authorities. And some old airship details being on the board of Russian An-72 plane, were considered as a contraband. In November the pilots were sentenced to 10,5 years term, which later was decreased to 8,5 years according to two-year amnesty.

      Russian Foreign Ministry called the charges "politically motivated" and deported several hundred Tajikistan migrant workers, though it didn't seem to be connected to the case. 

      Source: RIA Novosti Image: Apiural

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Author: Julia Alieva

Tags: lawsuit international scandal Russia-Tajikistan Russian aviation  

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