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Russia: Prolongation of sailors’ custody was expected – Kiev’s Human Rights Commissioner

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Verkhovna Rada’s Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmila Denisova was not surprised that the custody of all 24 Ukrainian sailors, who were involved in Kerch Strait incident, was prolonged for three more months by Lefortovo District court in Moscow on Wednesday..

She added that despite the custody, there can be different ways of resolving the issue.

“If some agreements are achieved or a political will will be expressed I think our sailors will be released and they will come back home. There are different options which are also set in the Russian Federation legislation, the Criminal Procedure Code,” she stressed.

In November, a Russian court ordered the detention of 12 of the 24 sailors until January 25, 2019 following the incident in the Kerch Strait in late November.

The sailors were charged under Part 3 of Art. 322 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation entitled “Illegal crossing of a border, committed by a group of persons by prior agreement or by an organised group, either with the use of violence or with the threat of its use.” The article carries a maximum sentence of up to six years in prison.

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