Prosecutors in Tajikistan have appealed against a jail term handed down to a Russian pilot last week.
Vladimir Sadovnichy and Estonian pilot Alexei Rudenko were jailed for eight-and-a-half years for smuggling a plane engine on November 8.
Russia said the jailing was “politically motivated.”
“The prosecutor’s office of the Khatlon province believes the verdict handed down by the city court of Kurgan-Tyube on November 8, is excessively harsh,” prosecutor Shorukh Radzhabov told reporters on Tuesday. Kurgan-Tyube is the province’s main city.
“Taking into account the fact that the accused are citizens of countries which are Tajikistan’s strategic partners, we ask the [Khatlon] province court to mitigate their sentences.”
The two men had been in custody since March, when Tajik police arrested them at the Kurgan-Tyube airfield.
They were flying two Antonov An-72 transport aircraft from Kabul to Moscow, but were forced to make an emergency landing in Tajikistan.
The court said one of the planes was carrying a “smuggled engine.”
On Monday, Russia’s public health chief called for Tajik migrant workers to be temporarily barred from Russia “for medical reasons.”