MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine last year and illegal crossing of the Russian border, has been convoyed from Moscow to Russia’s southern Rostov region on Friday to stand trial, her lawyer Mark Feigin said.
"Savchenko has been taken to Donetsk," he said.
Savchenko has previously requested Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to change the jurisdiction of her criminal case consideration and transfer the court proceedings to Moscow. According to her, taking into account the situation in the [neighbouring the Rostov region] Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic (DPR and LPR), holding the court proceedings in the Donetsk town court will "create a serious threat to the life and health of my lawyers, sister Vera who, as the key witness for defense, is subject to summonsing to court, my mother who is going to attend the trial." Besides, the application underscores that none of the affected persons permanently lives in the Rostov region, while all expert examinations on the case have been held in Moscow. In connection with that, Savchenko said, summonsing the affected persons and experts to the Donetsk court will be objectively hindered, "and in case they do not come my right to defense will be violated."
Savchenko is accused of involvement in the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region last summer, as well as illegal crossing of the border with the Russian Federation. The materials of her case were separated from the general case on Ukrainian servicemen committing genocide and using banned means and methods of war. She has been arraigned. The period of investigation on her case has been extended until November 13. If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison. Earlier her lawyers told TASS their client asked her case to be considered by a jury.
An investigator said in early July that Savchenko and her lawyers have got familiarized with the case materials, and they would soon sign a relevant protocol. After familiarization, the case was to be handed to the prosecutor’s office for approval of indictment and later passed to court.
According to investigators, during combat operations near the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk 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 Luhansk 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, who has been in custody in Russia since July 2014, does not admit her guilt. Her lawyers said they seek the case consideration by the jury, but their request is likely to be rejected.
In early 2015, the consideration of cases into premeditated murder of two or more persons against women was excluded from the jurisdiction of the jury court as women cannot be sentenced to life. "Therefore, a criminal case against a man on these charges may be considered by the jury court and may not be considered against a woman. We believe this is illegal and we plan to challenge this," lawyer Nikolai Polozov told TASS previously.