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MEP Demesmaeker condemns mock trial of Ukrainian pilot Savchenko

22 March 2016

MEP Demesmaeker condemns mock trial of Ukrainian pilot Savchenko

A Russian court has convicted the Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko for the death of two Russian journalists.

A Russian court has convicted the Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko for the death of two Russian journalists. “A disgrace,” says European Conservatives and Reformists MEP Mark Demesmaeker. “Savchenko is condemned without any clear evidence. There has never been a genuine process. This is a purely political decision.”

Savchenko was a helicopter pilot when she was abducted on Ukrainian territory in June 2014 by pro-Russian rebels. Since then, she has been locked up in a Russian cell. According to the prosecutor Savchenko ordered the mortar fire that killed the journalists. Demesmaeker: “Both the content of the indictment and the way Savchenko was arrested are very controversial and have been challenged from the start. The evidence seems thin and fabricated. Savchenko is an important symbol in the Russian propaganda machine. The Russian court uses political motives and not the truth as a guideline.”

Savchenko was later elected as a Member of the Ukrainian Parliament (October 2014) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (January 2015). “This allocates Ms. Savchenko diplomatic protection. Despite the military conflict between Ukraine and the Russian-backed militias, I expect that the Russian government shows respect for international rules.”

There has been a lot of international protest against Savchenko’s detention. “This decision shows once again that Russia is gradually becoming a totalitarian state. The separation of powers is under severe threat. The judicial power takes political decisions and destroys the life of an innocent Ukrainian MP.”

The prosecutor demands a prison sentence of 23 years. “Savchenko has now been on hunger strike for several weeks. But because she allegedly misbehaved during the trial, Ukrainian doctors cannot visit her. The Kremlin not only puts the rule of the law aside, it also shows no respect for humanitarian laws. I see no reason why the EU should lift economic sanctions against Russia. We should continue to put pressure on the Kremlin. I’m still hoping for a magnanimous gesture by Putin.”

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