Ukrainian pilot on trial in Russia goes on hunger strike

AP News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2016 12:37 PM
Ukrainian pilot on trial in Russia goes on hunger strike

DONETSK, Russia (AP) — The Ukrainian military pilot on trial in Russia in connection with the deaths of two Russian journalists said Thursday she is going on hunger strike to protest a delay in her trial.

Nadezhda Savchenko has been jailed for more than a year and a half. She was fighting with a Ukrainian volunteer battalion against Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, when she was captured in June 2014.

Russia claims she was acting as a spotter who called in coordinates for a mortar attack that killed the Russian journalists and several other civilians.

The Ukrainian government says she was abducted and should be treated as a prisoner of war.

As her trial nears conclusion, the judge on Thursday adjourned the hearings for a week.

"What do you mean by postponing," Savchenko burst out. "You're all f---ing idiots."

Her lawyers say they are resigned to her being convicted, but are hoping she can at least serve her sentence in her home country.

"After two years of bullying, the court will have to justify itself by finding her guilty," attorney Mark Feigin said. "Then there will be a request from the Ukrainian Justice Ministry ... for her to come serve her Russian sentence in Ukraine and the court will have a chance to approve this request."

Prosecutors on Wednesday asked the court to sentence her to 23 years in prison.