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Ukranian Hijacker Formally Charged by Turkish Court

By Shannon Riddle, Weekend Digital Producer
Published On: Feb 09 2014 01:15:26 PM AKST
Artem Kozlov Flight

AP

ANKARA, Turkey -

The Ukranian man who attempted to hijack a Turkey-bound flight from Ukraine has been formally arrested by a court in Istanbul.

The man, identified as Artem Kozlov, told the flight crew he had a bomb, and requested the plane to divert to Sochi,Russia, where the 2014 Olympics were about to begin. According to witnesses, Kozlov claimed to have planted the bomb in the cargo hold, saying “I will blow it up with my cellphone.”

The pilot instead landed the plane in Istanbul, where, after a four hour standoff, Kozlov was arrested and questioned by police. During his initial interview with police, Kozolov said he tried to hijack the plane as leverage for the release of his friends arrested during anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine.

''Through a very successful implementation by our pilot and crew, the plane was landed in Istanbul instead of Sochi,'' Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told reporters at the airport. ''He thought it was going to Sochi but after a while he realized that (the plane) was in Istanbul.''

Under Turkish law, Kozlov could face up to 10 years in prison for hijacking, and up to 5 years for deprivation of physical liberty.