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Prosecutor Asks 8-Year Term for Rust : Red Square Landing Called an Insult to the Soviet People

September 03, 1987|From Times Wire Services

MOSCOW — A prosecutor today accused West German pilot Mathias Rust of insulting the Soviet Union by landing in Red Square and asked that the 19-year-old be sentenced to eight years in the harshest class of labor camp.

"I am Mathias Rust and I am going to land where I want to land," prosecutor Vladimir Andreyev said in describing Rust. "The fact that he did not take into consideration the consequences and intentionally landed--he is a hooligan."

Although Andreyev said he was taking into consideration Rust's age and "his repentance to a certain extent," he asked that the West German be sentenced to eight years in the harshest class of labor camps for violating international flight rules. The maximum sentence is 10 years.

Concurrent Sentences

In addition, the prosecutor asked for a four-year sentence for hooliganism and two years for illegally entering the Soviet Union. The terms would run concurrently.

Rust pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating flight rules by landing his Cessna 172 in central Moscow and to entering the Soviet Union illegally. But he pleaded not guilty to malicious hooliganism. (Story, Page 10.)

The prosecution said Rust had flown along the most dangerous air space in the country and had been in the vicinity of Moscow's Sheveremetyevo Airport when 11 planes with about 1,000 passengers were in the air. In addition, all flights over the city are banned.

Red Square 'a Shrine'

"What is Red Square for a Russian person, for a citizen of the multinational state? It is a shrine," Andreyev said. "Not only Soviet citizens are buried there, but also Germans."

Rust, flying as low as 12 feet above the cobblestoned square, had passed above the tomb of Lenin--the most hallowed of communist shrines.

Rust and his defense lawyer were to have a final chance to speak on Friday morning, before the judge and two lay assistants consider a verdict.

Prosecution witnesses testified today that the 19-year-old pilot frightened pedestrians when he swooped over the Kremlin and landed his small plane in Red Square on May 28.

"My first reaction was to duck," policeman Andrei Molokoyedov told the court.

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