: Russian prison sentence for Savchenko comes into force
Politics16:09 Apr. 5, 2016
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Russian prison sentence for Savchenko comes into force

Lawyers for the military pilot and MP decide not to appeal the disputed verdict

A Russian prison sentence for Nadiya Savchenko has come into force.

Lawyers for the Ukrainian military pilot and MP decided not to appeal the court's ruling, made on March 21.

Savchenko plans to declare another hunger strike without water in protest over the verdict.

She faces 22 years behind bars for being involved in the deaths of two Russian journalists in the Donbas warzone in 2014 and for crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border illegally. Savchenko denies the charges.

Read also 'I will leave pre-trial detention centre only to go to Ukraine' – Savchenko

Human rights organizations, the OSCE, some UN Security Council members and European Parliament have all called for her release. But Savchenko's defence team worry her health is deteriorating fast, despite claims from the Russian side it is satisfactory.

Mark Feygin, lawyer for Nadiya Savchenko: "Formally, starting from tomorrow, she can be transferred to a penal colony. But I don't think it will happen. So far, the prison doctor is monioring her blood pressure and temperature. She said that tomorrow, she would agree to a blood and urine test"

Watch also Nadiya Savchenko could possibly return to Ukraine soon - lawyer

Nikolai Polozov, lawyer for Nadiya Savchenko: "One should understand, according to Russian laws, they can start force feeding her without her permission. They can tie her up and forcefully feed her through a drip. It would be equal to torture. But Putin needs her alive. She can become disabled, like a vegetable – but nobody cares here."

There's speculation in the media about what's next for Savchenko. The Interfax-Ukraine news agency says two main options are being considered - a prisoner exchange or a transfer of Nadiya Savchenko to Ukraine.

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