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Moscow court to consider Ukrainian pilot’s complaint on PACE session attendance denial

February 19, 2015, 14:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Consideration of the complaint on investigator’s refusal to allow Savchenko attend a PACE session as a member of the Ukrainian delegation is postponed to March 4
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Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko

Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko

© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Moscow’s Basmanny and City courts are considering the case of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko who was arrested in Russia and charged with complicity in the death of two Russian journalists near Luhansk in war-torn eastern Ukraine and with illegal border crossing.

Savchenko’s lawyers filed complaints in connection with her participation in international events in the EU framework and term of the pilot-turned-politican’s stay in the detention center.

Basmanny court said it postponed to March 4 consideration of the complaint on investigator’s refusal to allow Savchenko attend a PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) session as a member of the Ukrainian delegation. "The consideration of complaint is postponed to 12.30pm [Moscow time] March 4 in accordance with the request of lawyers Mark Feigin and Ilya Novikov, and of Savchenko herself, as she does not want to attend the hearings withour her lawyers," the court’s press secretary Anna Fadeeva told TASS.

Moscow City Court earlier said it postponed to February 25 consideration of appeal on extending Savchenko’s arrest.

No automatic freedom for Savchenko

Russian law offers no automatic freedom for accused Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko and innocence must be proven in court, State Duma International Affairs Committee chairman Alexey Pushkov told journalists on February 12, reflecting on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's suggestion that the detained woman might be released "in the nearest future".

Savchenko is held in prolonged custody until May 13. Ukraine's head of state has suggested another outcome, however, in comments reported by his media team in Kiev. "I was informed [the release] will be done in the nearest future after medical examination and preliminary investigation," Poroshenko was quoted as saying, adding that "I made a request for it to be done immediately and it was supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande."

But the proposition faces a challenge from Russian parliamentarian Pushkov. "Savchenko is accused of serious crimes. In order to drop the accusations, either investigators should rule the evidence insufficient or the court should rule her not guilty," he said. "This is a very emotional topic." Pushkov said.

"There is no mechanism to automatically free a person accused of complicity in murder, in this case of a Russian journalist," he added, noting a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution calling on Russia to release Savchenko in 24 hours.

"This is absolutely incorrect from a legal point of view. It is impossible to free a person accused of such a crime. No country will ever do that," he noted, while adding that "It is another matter that Savchenko’s fate may be the subject of further negotiation".

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