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PACE speaker asks Ukrainian pilot Savchenko jailed in Russia to go off hunger strike

January 30, 2015, 21:58 UTC+3 STRASBOURG
Brasseur told journalists on Friday that she had already demanded Savchenko’s temporary release so that the latter could attend the PACE session
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© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

STRASBOURG, January 30 /TASS/. The speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, has asked Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who has been on hunger strike in a Moscow prison from mid-December to go off strike because she was needed and wanted at PACE.

Russian prosecutors are accusing Savchenko of complicity to murdering two Russian journalists during the military hostilities in Lugansk in June last year. She was detained and taken into custody near Voronezh in Russian territory. She was then escorted to Moscow to undergo psychiatric examination.

Brasseur told journalists on Friday that she had already demanded Savchenko’s temporary release so that the latter could attend the PACE session and participate in the Assembly’s work. Immunity does not mean impunity, she stressed.

Russia’s Human Rights Ombudsman Ella Pamfilova visited Savchenko at the pre-trial detention facility on January 30.

"I have visited Savchenko today. Given the fact that she has been on hunger strike for some time, I can describe her condition as relatively satisfactory," Pamfilova told TASS.

The Russian human rights ombudsman tried to persuade Savchenko to go off hunger strike. "I certainly asked her to end the hunger strike but she refused," the ombudsman said adding it was good that Savchenko would be under supervision of qualified doctors.

"I will personally follow this case," Pamfilova said.

According to Russian investigators, Savchenko, a member of Ukraine’s Aidar volunteer battalion, used to be a Mi-24 helicopter gunner. During the military hostilities in Lugansk in June last year, she handed over information about the location of two Russian journalists and other civilians near Lugansk to Ukrainian mortar gunners who later opened fire at those locations. As a result, the employees of the All-Russian State Radio and Television Company (VGTRK) - journalist Igor Kornelyuk and cameraman Anton Voloshin - were killed.

Nadezhda Savchenko applied for permission to discharge from the army after she had been elected deputy of Ukrainian parliament during the October 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

PACE Speaker Anne Brasseur has repeatedly asked Russian State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin to seek Savchenko’s earliest release, but he made it clear that the Ukrainian would be out of jail only if the court found her not guilty.

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