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Russia’s human rights council urges to review Ukrainian pilot Savchenko’s detention

February 27, 2015, 18:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Members of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights appealed to the investigator to replace detention in prison with other, less stringent, measures of restraint
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© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Members of President Vladimir Putin's human rights council on Friday asked the country's chief investigator to review the detention of Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, imprisoned on charges of aiding the killing of two Russian journalists in east Ukraine last year.

In an open letter to Alexander Bastrykin, Chairman of Russia's Investigative Committee, the advisory body expressed deep concern about the deteriorating health of the detainee, who has been on hunger strike for more than two months now.

Members of the Presidential Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights appealed to the investigator to replace detention in prison with other, less stringent, measures of restraint.

The appeal, posted on the council’s official website, was prepared at the initiative of council member Yelena Masyuk, who visited Savchenko many times. Following a visit on Thursday, Masyuk released a statement saying that the health of the hunger-striking pilot had deteriorated significantly and she "can die within days".

Russia's federal penitentiary service (FSIN) said on Friday that Savchenko was in "stable and satisfactory condition", adding that the Ukrainian had been under the watchful care of physicians and received supporting therapy since she went on hunger strike on December 13.

The Moscow city court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling that Savchenko should remain in custody until May 13. Investigators say she could continue engaging in criminal activity outside prison.

Reports said on Wednesday the European Union was calling on Russia to free Savchenko, a lieutenant of the Ukrainian Air Force, for humanitarian considerations. The EU’s external policy serviced claimed Moscow was responsible for the frailness of her bodily condition.

Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Luhansk region of Ukraine last June.

Upon finding out the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, she allegedly reported the data to mortar men who then delivered fire at the crew and the civilians.

The incident took place near Luhansk. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

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