Urgent petition: Nadezhda Savchenko must be released from custody.

posted 11 Feb 2015, 14:38 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 11 Feb 2015, 14:43 ]
10 February 2015

Source: HRO.org (info
An initiative group has addressed a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin urging the immediate release from prison of the Ukrainian pilot, Nadezhda Savchenko, who is on hunger strike in a remand prison. The signatures are being gathered on the website of Novaya gazeta:

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to you as the guarantor of respect for the rule of law in our country, regardless of whether the question at issue is involved the right to humane treatment and a fair trial for a Russian citizen, or for a citizen of any other State.

We draw your attention to the fact that a citizen of Ukraine, Nadezhda Savchenko, has been on hunger strike in protest against her abduction from Ukrainian territory and detention in Russia since 15th December, 2014. Her health and life are at risk. She will be dead within a few days.

Nadezhda Savchenko has been in custody in various Russian prisons since early July 2014. In late October the Basmanny court extended her detention until 13th February, 2015. Meanwhile, the charges against Savchenko remain unfounded on any evidence. Her defence team have evidence of her innocence regarding the death of Russian journalists in the mortar shelling near Lugansk.

Savchenko has a strong alibi: she had been taken prisoner by separatists long before the bombardment began. Such evidence has not been refuted by the investigation. Moreover, the investigators have still not examined the documents supplied by the defence.

On 25th January, 2015 a second, downright absurd charge was added: Savchenko was accused of "illegal border crossing", although she was moved to the territory of the Russian Federation by force and under escort. This situation requires your intervention to restore constitutional guarantees of human rights in this case.

Nadezhda Savchenko should be released from custody and her life should thus be saved.

Russian legislation provides for alternative means of restraint such as travel restrictions or house arrest even for defendants in cases of the most serious crimes. There are no technical difficulties that prevent Savchenko being held under house arrest.

Judging by their statements, the political leaders of Russia remain of the view that our country is a democratic and humane state, where extrajudicial killings are not carried out on grounds of political hatred or personal vendettas.

The release of Savchenko from detention would provide sound evidence that Russia remains a civilized State.

From the earliest history of Russia there has been a great tradition of charity. It is here, in our land, where a German doctor, the ‘holy doctor’ Friedrich Joseph Haass, worked. He completely devoted himself to the improvement of prison conditions. And today, in memory of him, we ask you to show personal charity to Nadezhda Savchenko; her life depends on it.

As of 14.00, 10th February 2015, this appeal had already been signed by 5,743 persons.

Translated by Graham Jones