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Savchenko’s lawyer expects she will be found guilty and handed lengthy prison term

March 21, 2016, 10:12 UTC+3 DONETSK (Rostov Region)

Today the court will start reading the verdict for the former Ukrainian army pilot on trial in Russia

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Mark Feigin talking to the media (archive)

Mark Feigin talking to the media (archive)

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

DONETSK (Rostov Region), March 21. /TASS/. Former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko’s lawyer says Rostov Region’s Donetsk city court will most likely find her guilty and sentence her to a lengthy term in prison.

"Savchenko will be found guilty and handed a lengthy term," lawyer Mark Feigin said on Monday.

Today the court will start reading the verdict for the former Ukrainian pilot charged under three articles of the Russian Criminal Code "murder", "attempted murder" and "illegal border crossing".

Security measures have been strengthened in the court due to public attention to the case. The verdict is expected to be read for two days.

The victims in the case are the families of the killed journalists, and in the attempted murder case VGTRK operator Viktor Denisov and a number of residents of Lugansk who came under artillery fire.

The trial against Savchenko began on September 22, 2015. Since July 25, 2015 the defendant has been kept in the SIZO-3 detention facility in Novocherkassk (about 30 km from Rostov-on-Don and 150 km from the Donetsk City Court) from where she is transported to the court hearings. She has been in custody for 1 year and 8 months.

Savchenko, 34, who has been held in Russian custody since July 2014, already 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.

Russia’s investigators say Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, 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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