Tuesday, January 20, 2015
ALERT: Congress Seeks to Free Nadiya Savchenko
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), in cooperation with the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, has drafted a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of the House of Representatives demanding the release of imprisoned Ukrainian fighter pilot and political prisoner Nadiya Savchenko. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) has also signed the letter.
The signatories expect the letter to be sent to Secretary of State John Kerry to urge the White House to publicly condemn the illegal detainment of Savchenko and request her immediate release from Russian imprisonment.
Savchenko was seized in Ukraine during the Russo-Ukraine War of 2014 by Russian soldiers, kidnapped to Russia and imprisoned. She is the focus of a global awareness campaign for her freedom that seeks to raise 1 million #FreeSavchenko tweets.
The Ukrainian National Information Services has disseminated Pascrell’s letter to its friends and supporters, urging them to request their elected officials in the House of Representatives to sign on to this letter. Requests/letters to your Representatives may be e-mailed directly by using the House website at: http://www.house.gov/representatives/ . The deadline is January 22.
Pascrell wrote in this letter:
In advance of Global Free Nadiya Savchenko Day on January 26th, please join me in urging Secretary Kerry to intensify his public condemnation of Nadiya Savchenko’s illegal imprisonment by Russia.
It has been over seven months since Nadiya Savchenko, a former Ukrainian Air Force pilot, Iraq War Veteran, Member of Ukraine’s Parliament and delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, was captured by Russian-backed militia in southeastern Ukraine and brought to Russia. Since being transnationaly abducted, Savchenko has been accused of helping kill two Russian journalists and held in isolation while she awaits her day in Russian court, which has been delayed.
As a result of the delay, Savchenko has been on a hunger strike for over a month while in Russian prison. These actions are a clear violation of her human rights and international standards according to clause 5 of the September 5, 2014, Minsk Protocol, which called for the immediate release of all unlawfully detained persons.
Savchenko has become a rallying point in the Ukrainian community and deserves our support. If you have any questions or you would like to sign on, please contact Dylan Sodaro in my office at 5-5751 or Dylan.Sodaro@mail.house.gov by COB Thursday, January 22.
The letter to Secretary Kerry reads as follows:
We write to urge you to strongly condemn Russia’s transnational abduction and the subsequent unlawful detention of Nadiya Savchenko, former Ukrainian Air Force pilot, Iraq War Veteran, member of Ukraine’s Parliament and delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and do everything in your power to secure her immediate release.
On June 18, 2014, Ms. Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine while carrying out her duty to defend her country. Eventually, she was transported to Russia, illegally detained under unsubstantiated charges, subjected to numerous interrogations by Russian authorities and denied access to her counsel. These actions are a clear violation of her human rights and international standards according to clause 5 of the September 5, 2014, Minsk Protocol, which called for the immediate release of all unlawfully detained persons. Subsequent to Russia’s actions and the decision to extend her arrest, Ms. Savchenko entered a hunger strike. We are deeply concerned for Ms. Savchenko’s health and wellbeing, as she is in solitary confinement and has been denied urgently-needed medical attention and communication with her legal counsel.
Russia’s actions betray their previous commitments and have derailed good faith efforts to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine. It is imperative you utilize all diplomatic efforts to ensure the safety of Ms. Savchenko’s life and other illegally imprisoned Ukrainians immediate release. We respectfully urge you to intensify your public condemnation of her illegal imprisonment by Russia, and demand that she and the other illegally imprisoned Ukrainians be freed.