Time to save the life of Nadia Savchenko is running out

‘’Time to save the life of Nadia Savchenko is running out,’’ says the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Anne Brasseur. Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko is now on the 82nd day of a hunger strike in a Russian jail. Savchenko has been charged with involvement in the death of Russian journalists – she denies all charges.

Hunger strike                       

Savchenko has been on a hunger strike nearly two months, accepting only fluids and glucoses, and her health condition has been deteriorating. She has lost over 17 kg. Her lawyers say her body is suffering ‘’irreversible damage’’ due to the hunger strike. Savchenko is now considering going on a dry hunger strike, as she does not get the medication, nor the medical advice that she needs. The hunger strike is a protest at being denied medicines she required. On February 25, Savchenko declared she could die by next court hearing.

Arrest and foreign response

In July 2014, Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, after which she was handed over to Russian authorities, who have since held her in a prison in Moscow.  She is charged with the aiding of killing two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, however, she denies all charges.

On February 25, Moscow City Court extended the arrest of Savchenko until May 13, which has sparked outrage around the world. Several world leaders have shown support for her situation. A response of the White House included the following: ‘’We once again call on Russia to release Savchenko, and all hostages and illegally held persons, as well as to fulfill all of the commitments it and the separatists it backs signed up to in Minsk.’’ In a statement of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, condemned the extention, and said that ‘’Russia bears a responsibility for Savchenko’s very fragile health.’’

President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has awarded Savchenko the highest national honor, the ‘’Gold Star Hero of Ukraine’’. In a statement, Poroshenko said: ‘’Nadiya is a symbol of unbroken Ukrainian spirit and heroism, a symbol of the way one should defend and love Ukraine, a symbol of our victory.’’

Anne Brasseur states "This week, in Strasbourg, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. I think that the most worthy contribution to this event from the Russian government could be the release from punishment of Nadia Savchenko due to her state of health,"

On October 26, Savchenko was elected an MP for the Batkivshyna Party, during the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine. At the same time, the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, made Savchenko a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

By Elske Idzenga

Sources: Unian; Reuters; the White House; Radio Free Europe



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