Russian pilot released in Tajikistan on his way home

Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy, who was freed from Tajik prison after two weeks of diplomatic and economic wrangling with the Russian authorities, will arrive to Moscow on Thursday.

His plane is to take off at 7:30 Moscow time [3:30 GMT] from the Dushanbe international airport.

His colleague, Estonian national Alexei Rudenko arrived to the Latvian capital Riga late on Wednesday and will go to Tallinn by car.

Sadovnichy and Rudenko were arrested after flying into southern Tajikistan in March and jailed on November 8. Moscow said the charges were “politically motivated” and deported several hundred Tajik migrant workers, a move it denied was connected to the case.

A Tajik prosecutor asked the court on Tuesday to reduce the term to two and a half years. He also suggested the pilots be released in amnesty ending on December 1 as they had already spent six months in custody.

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