MOSCOW, June 11 (RAPSI) – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has issued a letter of protest against extending the detention of Ukrainian ex-pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who stands charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
Moscow City Court Judge Pavel Melekhin on Wednesday extended Savchenko’s detention until September 30. The ruling was made under a motion filed by investigators who said the additional time was necessary for Savchenko and her lawyers to study the case materials. The ruling was made over concern that Savchenko could escape custody.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service said the ruling was “ungrounded and unlawful.”
“This decision is yet more evidence of Russia’s unwillingness to respect the provisions of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which provide, among other things, for the release and exchange of all hostages and unlawfully detained persons, based on the principle ‘all for all’,” the statement reads.
TV journalist Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed on June 17, 2014 in a mortar attack.
The Russian Investigative Committee singled out Savchenko’s case from a larger case of war crimes in Donbas and has since completed the investigation.
Savchenko denies the charges and claims that her arrest was illegal.
Her attorneys also believe that she was framed and that there is no evidence of Savchenko’s complicity in the murder of the journalists. They also claim she did not cross the border voluntarily but was kidnapped.
The defense also argues that the defendant is a PACE delegate and, therefore, has absolute immunity. However, the court ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s claim that Savchenko’s immunity does not cover her actions before she received this status in the assembly and that she committed the crimes before the election.