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Former Ukrainian aiforce navigator on trial in Russia goes on "dry" hunger strike — lawyer

March 03, 2016, 17:41 UTC+3 DONETSK (Rostov region)

Savchenko, 34, who has been held in Russian custody since July 2014 was on hunger strike for 83 days last March

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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

DONETSK (Rostov region), March 3. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian airforce helicopter navigator Nadezhda Savchenko has gone on a "dry" hunger strike due to being unable to make her last plea in the Donetsk city court (in southern Russia) where her case is reviewed, her lawyer Nikolai Polozov said.

"The court suddenly announced it had postponed its session until March 9 preventing Savchenko from making her last plea. She said she had begun a ‘dry’ hunger strike," Polozov wrote on his Twitter page.

"If I am not allowed to make my last plea, I will go on a ‘dry’ hunger strike tomorrow," Savchenko said after the court adjourned the case.

According to the lawyers, they expected the defendant’s last plea on Thursday and hoped to find out the verdict date.

Savchenko, 34, who has been held in Russian custody since July 2014 went on hunger strike for 83 days last March.

Russia’s prosecutor has called for a 23-year prison term and a fine of 100,000 rubles ($1,400) for Savchenko. She is charged with offenses under three articles of Russia’s Criminal Code - "Murder", "Attempted Murder" and "Illegal border crossing."

Russia’s investigators say Savchenko joined the Aidar militant battalion and in June 2014 conducted covert surveillance and direction of artillery bombarding targeting a checkpoint in the much-troubled Lugansk region. The settlement was full of civilians, including three Russian journalists.

Two Russian journalists - Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin - from the All-Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network (VGTRK) died in the shelling.

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