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UN Secretary General relieved to learn Savchenko stops her hunger strike

March 15, 2016, 21:51 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

"The Secretary General urges the authorities to observe due process and fair trial rights of miss Savchenko," United Nations spokesperson says

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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© Valery Matytsyn/TASS Archive

UNITED NATIONS, March 15. /TASS/. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was relieved to learn that Ukraine’s former woman pilot, Nadezhda Savchenko, who has been held in custody in Russia since July 2014 on charges of the murder of Russian journalists, has ended her hunger strike and called on the Russian authorities to respect her right to fair trial, United Nations Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

"The Secretary General has been following the situation with Nadya Savchenko, who is the subject of judicial proceedings in the Rostov region of Russia, very closely. He is relieved that she has announced an end to her dry hunger strike. The Secretary General urges the authorities to observe due process and fair trial rights of miss Savchenko," he said.

Nadezhda Savchenko is currently under trial in the city of Donetsk in Russia’s southern Rostov region. She is charged under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code "murder", "attempted murder" and "illegal border crossing".

The prosecution argues that on June 17, 2014 Savchenko was in the area controlled by the para-military battalion Aidar near the Metallist community, the Lugansk Region, from where she adjusted artillery fire against a roadblock held by militias of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic and a group of civilians present there, including three Russian television journalists. The explosion of a mortar shell killed two of them - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

The trial against Savchenko began on September 22, 2015. The court is to read out a verdict on March 21-22. The prosecutor wants her to be sentenced to 23 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 rubles (1,400 U.S. dollars).

Savchenko however keeps on pleading not guilty. On March 3, she went on a dry hunger strike in protest of verdict delays. Her lawyer, Mark Feigin, said on March 10 she began to take meals.

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