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Moscow bank hostage taker ends hunger strike

August 30, 10:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
1 pages in this article

MOSCOW, August 30. /TASS/. The bankrupt businessman who seized a bank in downtown Moscow last week has ended the dry hunger strike five days after declaring it in court, his lawyer told TASS on Tuesday.

"Shortly after the court hearing in the Presnensky court my client felt sick and the ambulance was called for him. After the examination doctors gave him some injections and advised him not to continue the hunger strike," lawyer Stanislav Maltsev said.

The 55-year-old businessman agreed in order not to risk his health. Aram Petrosyan hopes that the Moscow City Court will sustain the appeal filed by his lawyers who asked for a milder pre-trial restriction.

On August 26, Moscow’s Presnensky court arrested Petrosyan for two months until October 24. Petrosyan called on the court not to arrest him saying his mother was ill and he had to take care of her. In protest, the businessman declared a dry hunger strike.

The man was charged with hostage-taking in respect of two or more persons with the use of an object as a weapon. If found guilty, Petrosyan could face a sentence ranging from 6 to 15 years behind bars.

Hostage-taking drama

Late on August 24, the broke businessman from the Moscow region seized a Citibank office in downtown Moscow. Petrosyan had a box wrapped in yellow tape that he claimed was an explosive device and threatened to blow up the office.The hostage taker demanded that the current law on personal bankruptcy be canceled and that "a personal bankruptcy institution" be established to address the problems of bankrupt businessmen.

When the man entered the bank, there were six people inside: three clients, two cashiers and a security guard. A female employee was the first to be freed: she told the hostage taker that she was pregnant and could suddenly feel bad, and he let her go. After that, the security guard fled the building. By 10.00 p.m. Moscow time, the perpetrator freed all hostages and surrendered to police.

Law enforcers said the perpetrator had no real explosive device. The box was a mockup. Investigators say the motive for the crime was that the man had been in a serious financial hot water.

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