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Russian sentenced to prison for threatening to hijack plane

Feb. 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

MOSCOW, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- A Russian man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of attempting to hijack a Russian airliner last year, officials say.

Investigators had told a Moscow regional court Sergei Kabalov had used violence and threats of violence "towards hijacking the plane" during a January 2013 flight from Moscow to Hurghada, Egypt, ITAR-Tass reported Tuesday.

In finding Kabalov guilty of issuing threats to hijack the plane, the jury said he deserved leniency. They suggested his sentence should not exceed two-thirds of the maximum possible sentence.

The prosecutor had asked for a sentence of 8 1/2 years in a maximum-security prison.

Kabalov's attorney, Ignat Yavorsky, had argued his client has suffered from "psychic trauma" since a plane he was aboard in 2009 made a belly landing.

Yavorsky said attendants on the Metrojet flight over-reacted after Kabalov and another man began drinking alcohol in the half-empty tail section of the airplane and made frequent visits to the restroom to smoke.

A witness said Kabalov had consumed a liter of tequila when he hit a flight attendant who complained about his bad behavior.

Kabalov did not return from Egypt and Russia put him on an international wanted list. He was detained in Belarus in March and extradited to Russia.

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