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MOSCOW, February 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Lawyers of in-flight brawler Sergei Kabalov, sentenced to 3.5 years in jail on Tuesday, have said they will appeal the verdict.
"Kabalov has been shocked by the verdict; he doesn't want anything, but the defense believes the verdict is illegitimate; simply it's outrageous; we'll lodge an appeal," his lawyer Fail Sadretdinov said.
The prosecutor could not immediately say if he would appeal. During the arguments of the parties, he demanded 8.5 years in prison for Kabalov. "We need time to examine the text of the verdict," the prosecutor said.
Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee said it was satisfied with the guilty verdict.
"During the investigation, Kabalov denied the charges, and requested a jury trial apparently hoping that it would be easier to convince them of his innocence than a professional judge," SK spokesman Vladimir Markin noted. "Yet he forgot that jurors are ordinary people who also fly on planes and wish to feel safe. It's absolutely obvious that the passengers, such as Kabalov, must be punished, so that nobody is tempted to act likewise."
On January 11, 2013, Kabalov, on a flight from Hurghada to Moscow, took actions "towards hijacking the plane," using violence and threatening violence, the investigators said. The 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 Kabalov 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.Investigative Committee transport department officers found out that Kabalov, who was travelled with his family to Egypt for a holiday, drank alcohol, smoked, and used cynical and improper language to respond to rebukes by the crew.
When the plane was flying over the Black Sea, Kabalov, irked by a flight attendant's rebuke, hit him in the face with his head and then kicked him in the stomach. The flight attendant suffered brain concussion.
After seeing his impunity and a lack of serious resistance on the part of the crew, Kabalov began to threaten them, stating that he had been trained in a special armed forces unit and that he wanted to make the crew land the plane at the destination of his choice, according to the Investigative Committee.
However, the crew eventually managed to subdue Kabalov.
Following the incident, Kabalov was put on the international wanted list and detained in Grodno region, Belarus, on March 7, 2013. He was convoyed to Moscow on May 18, 2013.