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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Budanov Makes Closing Statement

APColonel Yury Budanov
ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia -- Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering a Chechen woman, delivered a terse final statement to a military court Wednesday, saying he had not lost hope and thanking the court for its patience.

The court will announce its verdict Friday.

Budanov has admitted to strangling Elza Kungayeva, 18, but says he did it in a fit of rage during an interrogation.

In December, a court ruled that Budanov was temporarily insane at the time of the 2000 killing and was not criminally responsible.

However, the Supreme Court overturned that decision and ordered a new trial late last year.

A new psychiatric report delivered to the court last month concluded that Budanov was sane but in a "highly agitated state" at the time of the killing.

"I am a Russian soldier and for 20 years I have served Russia defending my motherland," Budanov said in his closing statement to the military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

"I can only say one thing: It's not yet over.

"I apologize for any offense I may have caused and thank the court for showing patience during my trial," he added.

Budanov's lawyer asked the court to acquit his client of the charges against him.

"Without doubt Budanov is guilty and will be punished, but I ask the court for leniency in its verdict," Alexei Dulimov said.

A lawyer for the Chechen woman's family has asked the court to sentence the officer to 15 years and 10 days in prison, and the prosecution has asked for 12 years.

However, Prosecutor Viktor Rastorguyev said Wednesday that he expected the court to sentence Budanov to five to six years in prison in addition to the three years he has already spent behind bars.

Rastorguyev added, however, that it was unclear which psychological evaluation the court will take into account.

After the court session ended, Dulimov said Budanov had expressed disbelief that a verdict could be reached in just two days.

Budanov's trial was widely regarded as a signal of whether the military would clamp down on abuses, which have alienated even Chechens who do not support the rebels and undermined the Kremlin's efforts to build trust in Chechnya.