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DONETSK /Rostov Region/, September 15. /TASS/. The case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko will be considered on merits by a panel of three judges on September 22, one of Savchenko’s lawyers, Mark Feygin, said Tuesday.
"The case of Nadezhda Savchenko will be considered by a panel of three judges on September 22 at 11:00 a.m. Moscow Time," Feygin said.
He said the next three hearings will take place September 29, 30 and October 1.
Earlier Tuesday, the Donetsk City Court in southern Russia's Rostov Region, where preliminary hearings resumed on the case of Savchenko, accused of complicity in the murder of Russian journalists near the city of Lugansk in the Lugansk Region in east Ukraine, extended her arrest until January 16, 2016. The defense plans to appeal the court ruling.
During the preliminary hearing, the court has rejected the following motions on the part of the defense: on a request to PACE on the delegate’s immunity, on returning the case to the prosecutor’s office and on replacing the arrest with another measure of restraint.
Preliminary hearings started July 30 in the Donetsk City Court.
Savchenko is accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in the Lugansk Region, as well as illegal crossing of the border with Russia. The materials of her case were separated from the general case on Ukrainian servicemen committing genocide and using banned means and methods of war.
The period of investigation on her case has been extended until November 13. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.
According to investigators, during combat operations near the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on June 17, 2014, Savchenko, who was an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from the location of the Aidar battalion - a paramilitary group of Ukraine’s Interior Ministry - in the vicinity of the village of Metallist secretly adjusted artillery fire on a section of the Lugansk People’s Republic militia's roadblock with civilians, including three Russian journalists.
As a result, VGTRK journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin were killed.
Savchenko does not admit her guilt.
The defense says the legal interests of its client in Russia are infringed upon, but Russian federal law enforcement structures flatly deny that.
Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Tuesday Savchenko’s rights in Russia during preliminary investigation were secured even more than envisioned by law.
"I can boldly say that unlike similar cases with Russian nationals in custody in Ukrainian territory, Savchenko’s rights were secured in full, and even more," Markin said.
The legal proceedings in Russia on Savchenko's case have become an issue for sharp debate both in Ukraine and the West. Russia is accused of fabricating the criminal case. But Markin said Savchenko’s case "from the viewpoint of investigation is… not the most complicated in terms of establishing her guilt."
After investigators secured evidence that Savchenko was involved in the murder of Russian journalists, "her lawyers and supporters in Ukraine found no arguments but attempts to influence the case by political means," he said.
Markin said at first there were attempts to present Savchenko as a prisoner of war, and then to use the immunity of a PACE member. "Making sure that those attempts are insolvent, they started appealing to pity, appealing to the allegedly serious condition of Savchenko’s health. And of course this was untrue," he said.
Ukraine claims Savchenko was abducted from Ukrainian territory by Russian special services. But the Russian Investigative Committee said the claim is a "fake", and "Savchenko crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border on her own, doing it illegally, without an id."
Earlier Feygin told TASS that the court could bring in a verdict in the case in October.