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Nadia Savchenko detention ‘a serious case of political persecution’

“The continuing detention by the Russian Federation of Nadiia Savchenko, Ukrainian parliamentarian and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights and a serious case of political persecution of a Ukrainian citizen in Russia,” said Nellija Kleinberga (Latvia, ALDE), the Assembly’s rapporteur on humanitarian concerns with regard to captured people during the conflict in Ukraine.

“Ms Savchenko was captured in battle by separatists on 17 June 2014 when fighting as a foot-soldier in the volunteer battalion ‘Aidar’. She was forcibly taken to Russia and has been illegally held in custody for the last two years. She is accused of acting as an artillery spotter and of deliberately guiding the strike that killed two Russian journalists, Mr Kornelyuk and Mr Voloshin. According to Ms Savchenko’s defence lawyers, this was impossible as she was captured an hour before the attack on the journalists took place.”

“Since 17 December 2015, Ms Savchenko has resumed her hunger strike and as a result her health condition is now critical. I believe that Ms Savchenko can only be liberated by putting international pressure on the Russian authorities. Her life should not be a matter of political manipulation. The delay in addressing her case is unjustified. I therefore call on the Russian authorities to do their utmost to give Ms Savchenko the fair and public hearing she is entitled to within a reasonable time-limit.”