DUSHANBE, November 21 (Itar-Tass) — The court of the Khatlon region of Tajikistan on Monday accepted for consideration cassation appeals filed by the defence lawyers and pilots – Russia’s Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko, convicted pilots’ lawyer Gulyam Boboyev told Itar-Tass by telephone.
“The court has notified me in writing about accepting the documents, so far not specifying the date of the meeting of the appeal commission. Let’s wait and hope for a favourable outcome,” the lawyer stressed. According to him, the defendants feel good and have no health complaints.
The pilots of the Rolkan airline Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko were sentenced by the court of Kurgan-Tube to 8.5 years in a tight regime penal colony on charges of illegal border crossing and smuggling. The pilots of two aircraft had been arrested in Tajikistan in March. They have pleaded not guilty.
Earlier, Chairman of the State Duma’s foreign policy committee Konstantin Kosachev asked his counterparts in the parliament of Tajikistan to take under parliamentary supervision the case of the two pilots working for a Russian airline.
Kosachev said he had sent a letter to Olim Salimzoda, the chairman of international affairs committee at Tajikistan’s Majlis, in which he had voiced concern over the sentence to the pilots -- the Russian citizen Vladimir Sadovnichy and the Estonian citizen Alexei Rudenko.
He asked Salimzoda to take the pilots’ case under parliamentary control and expressed the hope that “an allied relationship, partnership and mutual respect will help our two countries eliminate the aftermath of this incident and attain an early return home of Vladimir Sadovnichy and his colleague.”
The pilots working for the airline Rolkan were arrested March 12, 2011, after a forced landing in the airport of the city of Kurgan Tube.
A Tajikistani court sentenced them to 10.5 years in a high security prison but after an amnesty signed by President Emomali Rakhmon the term was slashed by two years.
Sadovnichy and Rudenko were found guilty of all the three offenses the Tajikistani law enforcement agencies had charged them with initially – an encroachment on the regulations for international flights, an unauthorized border crossing, and contraband.
The Tajikistani government has also confiscated the two Antonov-72 (NATO reporting name Coaler) transport aircraft Sadovnichy and Rudenko had been flying.