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Pilots arrest can't help affecting Russian-Tajikistan relations

November 14, 2011, 10:42 UTC+3

The president noted that in his view the legal aspects of the case caused doubts

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HONOLULU, Hawaii, November 14 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged Tajik leaders on Monday to again return to the consideration of the case of the Russian pilots sentenced to long imprisonment terms.

"Such events can't help affecting relations between the two states, if the states do not heed each other," the president told reporters at the press conference after the APEC summit in Honolulu.

According to Medvedev, he stated the position in the talks with the Tajik leaders. "I hope very much that our Tajik friends have heeded us," he added.

The president noted that in his view the legal aspects of the case caused doubts. "So, I hope Tajikistan's authorities will themselves give the legal assessment of the events."

"I hope that when taking final decisions, they will be guided not only by abstract considerations, but will take into consideration the overall structure of relations between Russia and Tajikistan," he added.

"Though it is an internal affair of Tajikistan how to control justice, but we could not pass by the case, since the question is one of citizens of the Russian Federation," he noted.

On the whole, the situation is rather odious, he believes.

Medvedev said he saw no campaign around the situation with expelling of Tajik nationals from Russia at the same time.

Citizens violating the law must be expelled from the country, or their legal situation must be brought to the proper state, he said.

"I see no campaign," the Russian president stated.

Moreover, this must be done constantly. The problem concerns a great number of people. Eyes must not be shut to this, he added.

The commanders of the crews of An-72s -- Russian citizen Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko -- were sentenced by a court in Tajikistan on November 8 to eight years and six months' imprisonment on charges of violation of the international flight regulations, illegal crossing of the state border and smuggling. The pilots pleaded not guilty on any of the charges.

The trial, unexpectedly for Tajikistan’s authorities, has caused quite a stir in Tajikistan and Russia and a harsh reaction of Moscow. In the situation, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon stated that he took the pilots' case under his personal control.

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