Kazakhstan avows Innocence of Detained Kazakhstani Crew Members

    Kazakhstan has stated firmly that the Kazakhstani crew members on the IL-76 cargo plane that were arrested in Thailand are innocent, the Official Spokesperson for Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said on Monday during a briefing.
    "The aircraft crew are innocent and are not responsible for the reliability of the cargo and its content, according to the relative regulation and usual practice of international freight transportation," spokesperson Yerzhan Ashikbayev said.
    "We have been cooperating with the authorities of Thailand to at least make the conditions of our citizens in prison easier, and try to release them on bail before the next trial," Ashikbayev said.
    Ashikbayev said so far, the crew members have already received legal assistance and gotten in touch with their families.
    The IL-76 cargo plane was detained on Dec. 12 by local police after it landed for refueling at Bangkok's Don Muang airport. It was carrying 40 tons of arms including rocket-propelled grenades and surface-to-air missile launchers.
    Five crew members were arrested, a captain from Belarus and four Kazakh nationals.
    The chairman of Kazakhstan's Civil Aviation committee said on Dec. 14 that the IL-76 had been registered in Kazakhstan, but was later sold to Air West Georgia, according to Xinhua and Kazinform.