Prague, June 9 (CTK) – The Czech appeals court yesterday upheld the 2.5-year prison sentence for Yevgeni Rotshtein, a Russian who, drunken and under the name of Dogayev, endangered a plane flying from Moscow to Geneva in 2006 and caused the flight’s emergency landing in Prague.
The verdict given by the High Court in Prague has taken effect.
After months in custody in the Czech Republic and abroad, Rotshtein will serve his prison sentence for 21 days before it is completed.
The state attorney originally accused Rotshtein of an attempt to hijack the plane, for which he could face up to 15 years in prison.
A lower level court, however, softened the charges this April. It qualified the crime as endangering the plane’s safety, which carries a milder sentence, three years at the most.
It said Rotshtein (Dogayev) committed a crime by announcing false information about his having a bomb aboard the flying plane.
Rotshtein, then 32-year-old banker and former player of the Dynamo Moscow football team, was flying from Moscow to New Year’s Eve celebrations in Geneva together with his family in December 2006.
During the flight he got drunk and attempted to endanger the plane. He threatened with a bomb explosion and demanded that the plane land in Cairo. He tried to make his way into the cockpit and provoked a brawl.
The crew and fellow passengers made him harmless. After the emergency landing, he was handed over to the Czech police.
During the trial, Rotshtein dismissed having wanted to take control of the plane. He said he was drunk and had a conflict with a stewardess.
He accused some fellow passengers of plotting against him.
Judge Michal Hodousek yesterday said Dogayev could not have taken control of the plane, nor did he have any reason to do so, because he was flying for a holiday with his family.
“The important thing is that the plane was forced to land due to the high aggressiveness of the suspect, which posed big problems. We would expect a little bit more self-criticism [from him], but he seems to recognise all this,” Hodousek said.
He said the plane also had to land in Prague due to the injuries of Dogayev, which he suffered while being pacified by the crew and passengers.
After the incident, Rotshtein spent two years in the Czech Republic. Then he left for Britain where he was granted asylum. However, British authorities extradited him to Prague based on an international arrest warrant last autumn. In the Czech Republic, he was taken into custody.