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Confusion over trial of Ukrainian pilot

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By Catherine Hardy
Confusion over trial of Ukrainian pilot
  • Savchenko on trial over the killing of two journalists
  • Will be sentenced on Tuesday
  • Critics talk of a “show trial”

What has happened?

The trial of Ukranian pilot Nadia Savchenko is currently mired in confusion.

Earlier reports from the court in Donetsk said the Ukranian pilot had been found guilty of complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists.

But lawyers for Savchenko say the judge is still summing up and the verdict has not yet been delivered.

Prosecutors told the court the 34-year-old ordered the rounds of mortar fire that killed two Russian state TV journalists in eastern Ukraine, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin

Her defence team, however, say telephone records prove she was captured by pro-Russian rebel forces before the incident in which the journalists were killed.

She was then handed over to the Russian authorities.

Savchenko, who is on hunger strike, has denied any wrongdoing.

How long a sentence will Savchenko get?

Nadia Savchenko’s lawyer, Nikolaï Polozov, has explained the legal process to Euronews.

“The court has heard about the case for the prosecution, describing evidence that was presented in court.

The judge has read the testimony given by witnesses for the prosecution during the trial.

Following that, the testimony of witnesses for the defence will be read.

After that, he will examine material evidence connected to the case.

It is only then, when the judge sums up the case that the question of guilt will be addressed.

We are expecting this tomorrow.”

The court in Donetsk is awaiting the verdict.

The sentence will be announced on Tuesday.

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Savchenko to 23 years in prison if convicted.

A show trial?

The case is a major source of tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Savchenko has become a national hero for many in Ukraine.

Savchenko’s supporters gather in Ukraine

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged Russia to free Savchenko. US Ambassador the UN Samantha Power has called for Savchenko’s release.

Critics suggest Russian media announced the verdict before it was delivered in court.