MOSCOW, April 18 (RAPSI) - President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Pedro Agramunt has pushed for release of Ukrainian retired officer Nadezhda Savchenko sentenced to 22 years in prison for involvement in the murder of Russian journalists and illegal border crossing, RIA Novosti reported on Monday.
Agramunt during the spring session of PACE also called for release of all people held as hostages in Russia and Ukraine.
Savchenko was convicted by a court in Donetsk, a town in southern Russia, on March 22.
As the court has established, she was responsible for conducting concealed observation and directing mortar fire in an attack against a roadblock held by militias of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic and a group of civilians there, including three Russian journalists, near the village of Metallist, the Lugansk Region, on June 17, 2014. The attack killed two Russian television journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin. Savchenko, who at that time was on active duty in the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a navigator and systems operator of a Mi-24 attack helicopter, enlisted and served on the ground with a volunteer paramilitary unit, the Aidar Battalion, while being on leave. On the same day, she was captured by members of the Donbass People’s Militia; however, she managed to escape.
Charges of firing at civilians in the city of Lugansk have been dropped against Savchenko because this issue is out of a Russian court’s jurisdiction.
Savchenko has been elected to the Ukrainian parliament's permanent delegation to the PACE in 2014.
During the trial she argued again that she is a PACE delegate and, therefore, has absolute immunity. However, the Investigative Committee and Russian courts considered that Savchenko doesn’t hold PACE immunity because she was elected as a delegate after being charged with a crime.