Savchenko's defense lawyer asks for her to be tried in Moscow by jury

The defense attorney for Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, who is being charged in Russia with abetting the killing of Russian journalists, has requested that she be tried in Moscow and, if possible, by a jury.

"Today we signed a protocol on having finished studying the case files, and filed several requests. Firstly, for the case against Nadezhda Viktorovna to be closed due to the lack of criminal evidence; secondly, for some of the evidence to be removed," the defense lawyer, Mark Feigin, told Interfax on Thursday.

"We have also asked that the case be heard by a jury," the lawyer said. He admitted that there are few chances of having the case heard by a jury.

"Although from this year Article 105 [homicide], with regard to women who are not facing the maximum penalty, is no longer under the jurisdiction of the jury trial, we insist on the jury in order to challenge this norm in the Constitutional Court in the future as we consider it discriminatory on the basis of gender. We demand that the trial take place in Moscow," Feigin said.

Nadezhda Savchenko has finished studying the criminal case files, Russian Investigative Committee (RIC) spokesman Vladimir Markin has confirmed.

"Now that Savchenko and her three lawyers have finished studying it, the criminal case will be sent [to a prosecutor] for indictment approval and subsequently to a court in the very near future," Markin told Interfax on Thursday.<

Savchenko is charged with: killing two or more people; the attempted murder of two or more people in a publicly dangerous manner motivated by hatred toward a social group and committed by a group of conspiring individuals; illegal crossing of the Russian border.

According to the inquiry, during the hostilities near Luhansk in June 2014, Savchenko, having learned the coordinates of a group of Russian VGTRK journalists and other civilians near Luhansk, passed them on to Ukrainian armed forces groups.

"It was against these coordinates that the artillery strike was carried out, which killed VGTRK employees Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin as a result. Other civilians who were nearby could have been hurt as well," Markin said.

He said that after Savchenko crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border without papers and was arrested, the inquiry began "which has come under severe pressure from Ukrainian and European human rights campaigners from the very start."

"None of them was heard articulating a single legal argument in her defense, there were just banal accusations against investigators of falsifications and attempts to politicize the criminal case," the RIC spokesman said.

Read more: Poroshenko asks Putin in letter to free pilot Savchenko

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