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Moscow hopes for non-guilty verdict for Russian pilots in Tajikistan

November 08, 2011, 10:31 UTC+3
The Russian Embassy in Tajikistan has expressed the hope that the Central Asian republic’s Kurgan-Tyube court will issue the non-guilty verdict for two Russian pilots
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DUSHANBE, November 8 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Embassy in Tajikistan has expressed the hope that the Central Asian republic’s Kurgan-Tyube court will issue the non-guilty verdict for two Russian pilots, the Embassy’s counsellor, Dmitry Kabayev, said on Tuesday.

The verdict for the pilots of the Russian air carrier Rolkan Investments – Vladimir Sadovnichev and Alexei Rudenko - will be announced during the afternoon.

“The Russian side expects that the verdict will be unbiased and humane,” Kabayev said. “We do not want any irritant to emerge in our relations.”

The pilots of the Russian air carrier – citizens of Russia and Estonia – are accused of violating the rules of international flights, illegal border crossing and contraband.

The state accuser demanded that they should be sentenced to 13 years in prison in a strict-regime colony. The defendants pleaded not guilty.

The lawyer, Gulyam Boboyev, explained that his defendants were arrested by the Tajik special services, when their plane landed at the airport of Kurgan-Tyube last March.

They had a preliminary permit for flying through the state border, but the two airliners An-72 were refused landing permission over the lack of necessary documents.

After the emergency landing the crew was arrested by officers of the Tajik national security committee and was taken to an isolation ward.

Sadovnichev and Rudenko had been working in Afghanistan over the past several years and their contract expired on March 10, 2011, Rokan Investments spokesman Valery Pfefer told Itar-Tass.

The trial stirred the public attention. Among those present in the court room are the counsellor of the Russian Embassy, Dmitry Kabayev, the Estonian Embassy’s diplomat Marcus Solnsen and journalists of Russia’s leading media outlets.

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