DUSHANBE, November 16 (Itar-Tass) — The appeals commission of the Khatlon region court in Tajikistan has accepted for review the complaints by the convicted pilots - Russian citizen Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko and their lawyer.
"I was officially informed by the regional court that it has accepted for review the cassational appeals against the unjust and illegitimate verdict," the pilots' lawyer, Gulyam Boboyev, told Itar-Tass by telephone on Wednesdsay.
The review date has not been announced yet. According to Boboyev, he also had received a copy of the protest lodged by the Khatlon region prosecutor's office against the verdict by the court in Kurgan-Tyube, the administrative center of the province.
"It follows from the document that the prosecutors regard the verdict as too harsh and biased; it was passed without taking into account the defendants' personalities, their references, family status, and the elderly parents they have to support," Boboyev said.
In addition, regional prosecutors believe the court "failed to take into account the nature of Russian-Tajik relations, based on strategic partnership."
On November 8, the court in the town of Kurgan-Tyube sentenced the pilots to 10.5 years in a maximum security penitentiary. The term will be reduced by two years, in accordance with the amnesty announced by the president.
Prosecutor general Sherkhon Salimzoda stated that preliminary investigation materials had proven the defendants’ guilt under three articles of Tajikistan's Criminal Code: violation of state border, contraband, and violation of regulations for international flights. Also, Salimzoda accused the mass media or "wrongful interpretation of the situation around "a common criminal case."
According to him, the trial of the pilots was "open, transparent and free."
He denied any politics behind the case.
"The aircraft piloted by the crew commanders Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko (An-72) landed in our territory without permission of the republic's aviation authorities and other services. These aircraft were not registered in any state, had no operating life left, had not undergone maintenance and had not been repaired for three years. In such a situation, the Tajik aviation authorities "made the only correct decision."
Meanwhile, reports on Tuesday said Khatlon region prosecutors were seeking the extradition of head of the Rolkan Investments company head Sergei Poluyanov. The man is wanted by Interpol.
Prosecutor's office representative Faizullo Kholov confirmed it by telephone, noting that Poluyanov is "an accomplice to the crimes committed by the previously convicted pilots Vladimir Sadovinichy and Alexei Rudenko."
Criminal proceedings against Sergei Poluyanov, who is a Russian citizen, were pooled into a separate case on August 15. The person in question fled the investigators and is outside of the republic, and a sanction was issued for his arrest," Kholov said.
The head of the airline is responsible for his pilots' actions, he added.
Also on Tuesday, Estonia sent an interim consul to Tajikistan, to coordinate efforts in resolving the problem of its citizen, pilot Alexei Rudenko.
"The diplomat will be monitoring the situation and pass information to Tallinn. The consul's duties include contacts with the Tajik authorities, the lawyer and European Union representatives," Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said. These duties are to be temporarily performed by the consul who works at the Estonian Embassy in Kazakhstan.