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Savchenko's Request To Replace Judge Rejected

Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko's motion to replace the judge handling her case has been rejected by the judge himself.

The judge, Artur Karpov of Moscow's Basmanny Court, ruled on March 26 that Savchenko's request was unjustified.

Savchenko's lawyers had argued that Karpov was potentially biased, in part because he is among Russians under Western sanctions over connections to the case of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Moscow jail in 2009.

Savchenko is charged with involvement in a mortar attack that killed two Russian journalists covering the conflict between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

She says she was kidnapped by separatists in June and illegally brought to Russia, which she says has no right to try her.

Savchenko has been drip-fed on glucose and vitamins during a hunger strike she began on December 13.

She suspended the hunger strike on March 5, citing health concerns, but resumed it 11 days later.

No date has been set for her trial.

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