Tajik prosecutor asks for release of jailed Russian pilot

A Tajik prosecutor requested on Tuesday the release of the Russian and Estonian pilots sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for smuggling and border violations two weeks ago.

The court has adjourned to consider the appeal.

Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian national Alexei Rudenko were arrested in March and jailed on November 8. Moscow said the charges were “politically motivated.”

Russia has since deported several hundred Tajik migrant workers, but says the move was not connected to the case. Over half of poverty-stricken Tajikistan’s GDP is made up of money migrant workers send home from Russia.

The prosecutor, who earlier said the sentence was “too harsh,” asked the court on Tuesday to jail the pilots for two and a half years. However, he also suggested the pilots be released as they have already spent six months in custody and an amnesty is due to take effect in Tajikistan on December 1.


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