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Prosecutor asks for 9-year prison term for Ukrainian accused of preparing terror attack

According to the preliminary version, Artur Panov decided to carry out a terror attack in Russia's Rostov-on-Don by setting off an improvised explosive device in a mass gathering place

ROSTOV-ON-DON, August 9. /TASS/. A public prosecutor has requested nine years of imprisonment for Ukrainian Artur Panov convicted of preparing a terror attack in Rostov-on-Don in a city supermarket and 10 years of imprisonment for his supposed accomplice Maxim Smyshlyaev, a TASS correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"I ask the court to find Artyom Panov guilty and impose a penalty of nine years in prison in a general regime penal colony and a 40,000 ruble ($1,300) fine and find Maxim Smyshlyaev guilty and set a penalty of 10 years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony," the public prosecutor said.

Panov’s and Smyshlyaev’s defense attorneys filed a petition with the court asking to recognize some evidence inadmissible during the court session which preceded the debates, but the public prosecutor insisted on turning down the petition. The court decided to reject the attorneys’ petition, but take into account the presence of a petition application while making its final verdict.

In his last plea, Panov expressed the hope that the court would impose a fair sentence on him. "I will file no appeal. I hope the court’s decision will be impartial, comprehensive, and the court will make the decision that will correspond to the principles of justice," the defendant noted.

Panov added that he disagrees with the assertions that Smyshlyaev helped him stage an explosion. He also disagreed with the "terror attack" term in his criminal case. As for the remaining charges, he said that he agrees with them and admits his guilt. For his part, Smyshlyaev refused to admit his guilt expressing the conviction that he cannot be classified as an accomplice.

Earlier reports said that Panov was charged under the Russian Criminal Code’s sections titled "Aiding and abetting terrorist activities," "Preparation of a terror attack," "Illegal production of explosive substances," while Smyshlyaev was charged under the section titled "Aiding and abetting terrorist activities." They provide for criminal penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Terror attack preparation case

According to the preliminary version, Panov, being an active supporter of Ukrainian nationalism, decided to carry out a terror attack in Russia's Rostov-on-Don by setting off an improvised explosive device in a mass gathering place. For this purpose, he started communicating through social networks with Smyshlyaev, an opponent of the current Russian authorities in terms of his ideological and political views.

Panov made and kept explosive substances and devices at home. From November to December 2015, he was searching for potential venues where a lot of people gathered. Later, as Panov said at a court session, he decided to carry out a terror attack in the Okay supermarket on Malinovsky Street.

Panov told Smyshlyaev of a money remuneration promising to help him leave Russia to escape criminal liability.

Panov was under 18 at the moment of the terror attack. In early December 2015, he was arrested by Rostov-on-Don police, whereas Smyshlyaev was detained in April 2016.