Tajik, Russian diplomats discuss Russian pilot’s jailing

Tajik Deputy Foreign Minister Makhmudzhon Sobirov and Russian ambassador to Dushanbe Yuri Popov met late on Friday to discuss the recent jailing of a Russian pilot.

Russian pilot Vladimir Sadovnichy and his Estonian colleague Alexei Rudenko were sentenced to eight and a half years in jail last Tuesday for smuggling and violation of Tajikistan’s airspace. Russian officials condemned the trial as “politically motivated.”

“Law-enforcement bodies have already been considering this issue within the framework of national legislation and Tajikistan’s international commitments, and a decision will be made soon,” the Tajik official said.

The Russian diplomat, in his turn, expressed hope that “the issue would be resolved as soon as possible.”

Sobirov also said the recent deportation of over 200 Tajik migrant workers from Russia “continues to pay serious damage to bilateral ties.”

President Dmitry Medvedev said the expulsion of the Tajik migrant workers had nothing to do with the pilot case. He also said that illegal migrants would be deported regularly from now on.

Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Khairulloyev said on Thursday the country’s president has ordered the pilot’s release.

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