Ukrainian sailor detained in Iran freed

Ukrainian sailor detained in Iran freed

Ukrainian sailor Andriy Novichkov, who was detained in Iran on suspicion of committing murder, has been released, President Petro Poroshenko has reported on Facebook.

"Ukrainian sailor Novichkov has just been released. Andriy is now in the Ukrainian Embassy in Iran. I congratulate residents of Odesa on the return of our compatriot!" the president said.

He added that it was a pleasure to tell this story to Andriy's grandmother, Olena, who was waiting for the release of her grandson. "I personally thanked her for her firm position and belief that the situation will be solved," Poroshenko said.

A sailor from Odesa, Andriy Novichkov, left Ukraine in November 2016. He signed a contract to work as a senior assistant captain on board the Iranian container ship Arezoo. On the 18th day of a voyage in the South China Sea, Novichkov had a conflict with one sailor. According to the Ukrainian, that sailor was rude, tried to hit him, and then jumped overboard. The vessel stopped, the search started, but the sailor was not found.

The crew of the ship was dissolved after the incident. In February 2017, Novichkov was taken ashore and brought to the police, where he was asked to confess to committing the murder. In the autumn of 2017, the sailor went on hunger strike, and on the 11th day he was released from custody on personal recognizance of the consul and forbidden to leave Iran until the end of the investigation.

During the time of the investigation, the case was requalified from negligent manslaughter to premeditated murder. The Ukrainian faced death by hanging.

On May 17, 2018, Odesa Regional Council at an extraordinary session approved an appeal to the president and the Verkhovna Rada with the request to take measures to rescue the Ukrainian sailor.

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