MOSCOW, March 20 - RAPSI. Moscow's Tverskoy District Court has sentenced 20-year-old university student Alexandra Lotkova to three years in prison for shooting a non-lethal weapon in the metro, RAPSI reports from the courtroom on Wednesday.

According to the investigators, Lotkova, who is a third-year student at the Plekhanov Economics Academy, injured Ivan Belousov and Ibragim Kurbanov after firing a non-lethal weapon in the metro on May 26.

Non-lethal weapons are intended to be less likely to kill a living target than conventional weapons. It is generally accepted that casualties may occur wherever force is applied, but non-lethal weapons attempt to minimize this risk.

The defendant claimed that she was innocent and stated that she started shooting to prevent an impending conflict between her friends and the two young men, which would mean that her actions should qualify as self-defense. However, the victims claimed that Lotkova's friends initiated the quarrel.

According to Belousov, they saw a young man enter the metro with a knife attached to his belt.

"When Kurbanov inquired about the knife, the man responded aggressively," he said, adding that the inquiry triggered the incident. Kurbanov confirmed this statement, noting that he did not simply ask about the knife, but rather tried to take the knife from him after the man became aggressive.

According to the victims, Lotkova fired three shots. She claims that she took four shots, and that the first was fired upward as a warning. She said she was standing on the metro platform that day waiting for her three friends.

"Then I saw my friends, and one of them was bleeding," she said. "They were followed by three other men. One of them was brandishing a knife and shouting threats."

Since no one came to her friends' aid, she fired a warning shot, which did not stop Kurbanov from attacking her friend. Since her friend was being beaten and neither the police nor anyone else interfered, she said that she was "compelled to fire three more shots."

She added that the victims had a 0.3% blood alcohol content level.The court ruled that the year Lotkova spent under house arrest before the trial will count toward her sentence. The victims' claims for damages were upheld partially.

The conviction for intended serious harm to another individual's health could have resulted in up to eight years in prison.