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Russian court sentences in-flight brawler to 3.5 years in prison

February 04, 2014, 12:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The prosecutor demanded that Kabalov be sentenced to 8.5 years in a maximum security prison

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Sergei Kabalov during the court hearing

Sergei Kabalov during the court hearing

© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, February 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow regional court has sentenced Sergei Kabalov, found guilty by jurors of plane hijack attempt, to three years and six months in jail.

On Monday, the prosecutor demanded that Kabalov be sentenced to 8.5 years in a maximum security prison.

He earlier said he was hoping the jurors' verdict would resolve the social problem of air hooligans. "These Kabalovs are very dangerous," he said coining a generic for trouble-makers on flights.


The incident

On January 11, Kabalov, on a flight from Hurghada to Moscow, took actions "towards hijacking the plane," using violence and threatening violence, the investigators said. A jury unanimously found him guilty of issuing threats to highjack the plane noting that it was only the crew's actions that prevented him from carrying the crime through. At the same time, the jury said Kablov deserved leniency under this charge, saying that the sentence to be meted out by the court should not exceed two-thirds of the maximum jail term.

Following the incident, 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.

He denied the charges, but acknowledged affray.


Lawyer says Kabalov had a psychic trauma

"Kabalov has had a psychic trauma since 2009, when his plane made a belly landing," his lawyer Ignat Yavorsky said at one of the previous hearings.

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 testified that 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 after the latter rebuked him for improper behavior, the witness said. However, the jury has taken out the battery episode from the verdict.

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