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Ex-pilot Savchenko may be handed over to Ukraine within 6 months — lawyer

October 01, 2015, 14:36 UTC+3
According to the lawyer, the task is to hold a show trial, to condemn and hand over Savchenko, who is an MP of the Ukrainian parliament and a PACE delegate and may not be held criminally liable
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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© TASS/Valeriy Matytsin

DONETSK/Rostov region/, October 1. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, on trial in southern Russia over deaths of Russian journalists, may be handed over to Kiev within six months, one of her lawyers Nikolay Polozov has told reporters.

"Since yesterday, there have been reports from various sources on handing over Nadezhda Savchenko to Ukraine, but there is no talk of a not-guilty verdict. There is no sense for Russia to hold her here," Polozov said.

The lawyer said the task was to "hold a show trial, to condemn and hand over" Savchenko, who is an MP of the Ukrainian parliament and a PACE delegate and may not be held criminally liable.

However, Ukraine can accept any conditions set by Russia for Savchenko’s return back home, he said.

"But as soon as Nadezhda Savchenko is in safety, she may be immediately released or awarded. I think, this can happen within half a year or even faster, depending on the process and the appeal," the lawyer said.

The Kremlin believes it is too early to predict the outcome of the trial of Savchenko and her possible handover to Ukraine, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Thursday.

"We cannot predict how the trial will be developing, and, moreover, we cannot interfere with this trial," Peskov told reporters. He also said that Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama had not discussed the Savchenko case during their talks in New York.

Russia’s Justice Ministry said that "all the issues of handing over the convicts in Russia and Ukraine are solved based on the provisions of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons."

A sentenced person may be handed over to a foreign state on condition that the court’s verdict enters into force. Besides, under Russia’s Criminal Code, the request on the transfer may be denied if "neither of the crime for which the person is convicted is recognized as a crime under the law of a state of which the convict is a citizen." This also concerns the cases if a court of the foreign state does not recognize the verdict of a Russian court.

A trial of Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot-turned-MP, began in a Donetsk court in southern Russia’s Rostov region on September 22. Savchenko, 34, is charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine last summer. She also stands charged with attempted murder of civilians who could suffer as a result of artillery fire and illegally crossing the Russian border.

Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Lugansk region of Ukraine in June 2014. Upon noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, Savchenko allegedly reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who opened fire on the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.

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