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Convicted Ukrainian ex-pilot Savchenko begins ‘dry’ hunger strike — lawyer

April 06, 9:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW
In late March, Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles ($440)
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Nadezhda Savchenko

Nadezhda Savchenko

© valery Matytsyn/TASS

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who was convicted in southern Russia over the killing of two Russian journalists, began her "dry" hunger strike on Wednesday, her lawyer Mark Feygin told TASS.

Members of a public supervisory committee in the southern Rostov Region are planning to visit Savchenko in the Novocherkassk detention center later on Wednesday. The head of the committee, Leonid Petrashis, said Savchenko’s health is satisfactory now.

"The dry hunger strike will not influence it that quickly," he said, adding that members of the committee visit Savchenko on a regular basis and keep a watchful eye on the situation.

Savchenko has declared several hunger strikes during her nearly two years in Russian custody. Last time, Savchenko announced a "dry" hunger strike on March 3, meaning that she refuses both food and water. The move came in protest as the Russian court delayed the decision in her case.

In late March, Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in a general-security penal colony and a fine of 30,000 rubles ($440). The sentence came into effect on Tuesday. The Donetsk City Court found Savchenko guilty of directing the pro-Kiev forces’ artillery fire in south-east Ukraine that had killed Russian journalists. She was found guilty of killing Russia’s VGTRK Media Group journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin and illegally crossing the Russian border.

Savchenko denied any wrongdoing and didn’t recognize the Russian court’s verdict. However, the Ukrainian said she would not appeal the sentence.

Currently, Savchenko is being kept in a detention center in Novocherkassk, southern Russia, and so far it is not known where she will be transferred to serve her sentence. Under the Russian law, this should be announced no later than 10 days after the administration of the pretrial detention center is informed that the sentence enters into force.

Savchenko’s lawyers say that the Ukrainian authorities are taking efforts to have her transferred to Ukraine. They don’t rule out she could be swapped for Russian citizens convicted in Ukraine.

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