Lithuanian MEP initiates letter to Putin, urging to release Ukrainian pilot

Petras Auštrevičius
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The letter to Putin was signed by 60 MEPs, including Lithuanian representatives Liberal Antanas Guoga, conservative Gabrielius Landsbergis, Social Democrat Zigmantas Balčytis, Valentinas Mazuronis of the Order and Justice party and Bronis Ropė of the Peasant and Greens Union.

“The female pilot has also withstood ill-treatment in prison, including coercing her to admit to a crime of which she declares she is innocent. We believe that the Russian Federation’s actions towards Ms Savchenko brutally violate the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” reads the letter.

“Mr. President Putin, we urge you to immediately take all actions necessary to ensure that this case is conducted in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Furthermore, we reiterate what has been stated in the resolution by the European Parliament of Sept. 18, 2014 and call on the Russian authorities to release Ms. Savchenko as well as other illegally detained persons in Ukraine, and those who have been transferred to Russia,” the MEPs said in the address.

According to the letter, Savchenko was initially denied the possibility to consult a lawyer and to receive visits from the Ukrainian consul. The open letter to Putin also lists unacceptable the fact that MEP Rebecca Harms was on Sept. 25 2014 denied entry to the Russian Federation, while travelling with a diplomatic passport on a trip to attend Savchenko’s trial. Putin was asked to ensure that any MEP could attend hearings of the case.

The pilot was fighting for Eastern Ukraine and was part of the volunteer battalion Aidar. In June, she was captured by separatists in the Luhansk region and taken to the Russian territory.

On 8 July, she was already in a remand prison in Voronezh in Russia. Officers of the Russian investigation committee say Savchenko did not have any ID at the time of detention and pretended to be a refugee when she crossed the Russian border and was captured for identification. Savchenko maintains she was abducted from the Ukrainian territory.

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