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MOSCOW, December 03, 18:14 /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow regional court on Tuesday finished the examination of evidence in the criminal case against the plane hijacking attempt by Sergei Kabalov. The parties' arguments will take place on Thursday, December 5, Kabalov's lawyer Ignat Yavorsky told Itar-Tass.
On Tuesday, Kabalov told the court his version of the incident, denying the hijacking charges and accusing the plane crew of provocation.
"Kabalov has had a psychic trauma since 2009, when his plane made a belly landing," the lawyer said. "He drank alcohol before the flight on January 11, and as he was trying to have a smoke in a lavatory he was confronted by flight attendants who opened the door, and nearly dragged him out half-naked into the corridor."
According to Yavorsky, Kabalov met a fellow countryman on the plane, and as the plane's tail section was half-empty, they made themselves comfortable there and began to drink alcohol, with frequent trips to the lavatory to have a smoke. Yavorsky, who acknowledged that this behavior was resented by flight attendants, nevertheless blamed them for overreacting.
At a previous hearing, a witness claimed Kabalov had drunk a liter of tequila and that he had appeared on a Moscow - Hurghada flight wearing light summer clothes. He hit a flight attendant as the latter rebuked him, the witness said.
The indictment stated that Kabalov, "pursuing the objective to attain more supremacy and show his significance, decided to hijack the plane."
The judge noted that his design had not been carried through thanks to the actions taken the crew, not because the defendant had given up his plans.
"The crew and passengers took his threats seriously and acted to stop him," the prosecutor for the state said.
Kabalov denied the charges but acknowledged the incident. If found guilty, he might face up to 12 years in prison.
Flight attendant Sergei Oleinik testified that Kabalov had been drunk.
"We took away his cigarettes and his lighter because he was drunk, although he was flying with this family; he could have started a fire," the flight attendant said. "Kabalov began to demand that we return him his cigarettes, and had a row with another flight attendant, Denis Vafin, whom he hit several times."
The conflict was resolved by their senior colleague, who succeeded in getting Kabalov back into his seat.
"Kabalov claimed he was a special task force army unit veteran and that he could kill a person with a two-finger jab," Vafin said.
He also said he had heard Kabalov telling senior flight attendant Oleg Lenik that "the plane will land wherever I wish." The situation was dangerous for all the passengers, but the crew had no right to use force, he noted.
Kabalov was put on the international wanted list and detained in Grodno region, Belarus, on March 7. He was convoyed to Moscow on May 18.