MOSCOW, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Public Chamber will seek the release of Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy sentenced in Tajikistan, the head of the chamber commission for control over the activity of law enforcement agencies and judicial system, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, said on Wednesday.
According to Kucherena, such a tough verdict against the pilot “may be qualified as a slap in the face” for Russia. He pledged that a public committee to protect the pilot would be set up shortly.
“I believe it is a matter of honour for the Russian state, for human rights activists to intercede for “a fellow countryman who has found himself in a difficult life situation and to seek his release,” he stressed.
On Tuesday, the Tajik court sentenced pilots of the Russian air carrier Rolkan Investments Ltd – Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko (Estonian national) – to 10.5 years in a strict regime colony. Their sentence was reduced to 8.5 years under the presidential amnesty.
The pilots were found guilty of violating the rules of international flights, illegal border crossing and contraband.
The pilots were apprehended in March 2011. They pleaded not guilty.