Andriy Novichkov, the Ukrainian sailor, has been released from custody in Iran and brought to the Ukrainian embassy in this country - after the court found him innocent in the murder case. President Petro Poroshenko posted that on Facebook.
'Ukrainian sailor Novichkov has just been released. Currently, Andriy is on the territory of the Ukrainian embassy in Iran. I congratulate the residents of Odesa on the return of our compatriot. I was pleased to tell the news to his grandmother Olena Mykolaivna, who has been looking forward to seeing her grandson walk free. I personally thanked her for her firm stance and trust in the situation's resolution (...)', Poroshenko wrote.
Andriy Novichkov left Ukraine in November 2016, after he signed the contract for the job of the captain's senior assistant at Arezoo, the Iranian vessel. Novichkov joined the crew near Shanghai. 18 days after the vessel entered the South China Sea, Novichkov had a conflict with another sailor. According to the Ukrainian, he acted aggressively, tried to punch him, and then just jumped off the board. The crew stopped the vessel and tried searching the man, but never found him.
The crew was disbanded after the incident. In February 2017, Novichkov was taken to the coast by force and taken to the police, where they demanded that he admit his guilt in the murder. In April 2017, the Ukrainian diplomats managed to bring Novichkov to another prison in Tehran. In November 2017, Novichkov began a hunger strike; eleven days after that, the investigation released him under the personal commitment of the ambassador. Novichkov was forbidden to leave the country. If considered guilty, the Ukrainian sailor could have been executed.