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Former Ukrainian pilot faces 25 years in prison

July 30, 2015, 12:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee says that the investigators collected enough evidence to prove Nadezhda Savchenko's guilt

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MOSCOW, July 30. /TASS/. Preliminary hearings in the case of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko begin on Thursday in the Donetsk city court in Russia’s southern Rostov region. Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee, told TASS that the investigators had collected enough evidence to prove her guilt.

"From the point of view of the investigators, Savchenko’s criminal case is, if not ordinary, but not the most difficult one, as far as collecting evidence is concerned. The Investigative Committee officers have amassed volumes of evidence proving Savchenko’s implication in the murder of our journalists, so her lawyers and supporters in Ukraine have no arguments other than attempts to exert political influence on the case," Markin said.

"The investigators have irrefutable evidence proving that Savchenko crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border on her own, and she did it illegally, without identity documents, which is also reflected in the criminal case files as an additional count," the Investigative Committee spokesman said. "Not only did she cross [the border], she also moved freely along the territory of the Voronezh region, lived in a hotel for several days and even tried to obtain legal status in Russia by writing an application to the Federal Migration Service to obtain a certificate confirming her identify."

"Despite the fact that the first degree murder entails criminal penalty of up to life imprisonment, this criminal penalty is not applicable to women, according to Russia’s Criminal Code. The maximum prison term for them is 25 years. That is why the trial will be held without a jury — something requested by the defense, which demonstrated its ignorance and lack of knowledge of the Russian legislation," Markin said.

He recalled that at first there were attempts to present the former Ukrainian pilot as a prisoner-of-war, then she was elected a PACE member, "apparently, in an attempt to use the functional immunity for her release." "But all these so-called arguments were refuted by the norms of the Russian and international law. When they realized that their attempts were failing, they began to appeal to pity, highlighting Savchenko’s allegedly poor health condition," Markin noted.

"In addition to the fact that the defendant underwent regular medical check-ups, at the initiative of the Ukrainian side she was even visited by foreign doctors, not to mention highly-qualified Russian specialists recommended by human rights activists. All of them unanimously confirmed that Savchenko’s health condition was satisfactory. The Ukrainian consul was allowed to visit her regularly, and she had an opportunity to meet her relatives," he added.

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