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MOSCOW, November 17 (Itar-Tass) — The State Duma denounced the verdict against the pilots of an airplane An-72 Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko, who were sentenced by the Tajik court to 8.5 years in a tough security penitentiary for smuggling, and demands their release from the Tajik prison. Russian deputies took as a basis a draft statement over the conviction of Russian citizen Vladimir Sadovnichy and our compatriot and Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko in Tajikistan.
“We demand an immediate release of our pilots and their return to the homeland,” an initiator of the document and Vice-Speaker from the LDPR faction Vladimir Zhirinovsky said presenting the draft statement of the lower house of the Russian parliament. He noted that this verdict against the pilots may arise only confusion, because a pilot can land his airplane in any country of the world without any permission in the current world practice in case of a fuel shortage.
The deputies found the Tajik court verdict “ungrounded and politicized.” “This decision contradicts the spirit of strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan that was harmed in favour of vague time-serving considerations,” the document runs.
The State Duma hopes that “Tajikistan will attend to common sense and will respond urgently to a negative attitude of Russian society towards a harsh verdict, which was pronounced against pilots Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko. Russia took this verdict with bewilderment and disappointment. The verdict raised many questions and aroused an extremely negative response, the deputies recalled.
The State Duma intends to approve finally the foresaid statement at 5 p.m. Moscow time.
The Kurgan-Tyube City Court sentenced pilots of the Rolkan air company Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko to 8.5 years in a tough security penitentiary on accusations of illegal border transgressing and smuggling. The pilots were arrested in Tajikistan last March. They did not plead guilty and called the verdict absurd.