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Famous Tajik opposition leader slams verdict for Russian pilot

November 09, 2011, 17:11 UTC+3
The former leader of the Tajik opposition and famous public and religious activist has criticized the trial over two pilots of the Russian air carrier
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DUSHANBE, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — The former leader of the Tajik opposition and famous public and religious activist has criticized the trial over two pilots of the Russian air carrier.

“This is a very thoughtless step of those who participated in announcing the verdict, I think, at the very high level,” Khodzhiakbar Turadzhonzoda said in an interview with Itar-Tass on Wednesday. “This will only instigate hatred between our countries, will harm our migrant workers and our relations with Russia.”

“The pilots are objectively not guilty, they and their planes posed no threat to our country’s security and to us, Tajiks,” he said adding that “it is necessary to painlessly and as fast as possible correct the mistake of those who had taken this thoughtless decision.”

On Tuesday, the Tajik court sentenced pilots of the Russian air carrier Rolkan Investments – Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko – 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 arrested in Tajikistan last March. The two An-72 planes were confiscated for the benefit of the state.

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