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Drunk Driver Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison

A Moscow region court on Monday sentenced a Moscow resident to eight years in jail for killing five people while driving under the influence.

The Noginsky City Court also banned Yekaterina Zaul from driving for three years after her prison sentence and ruled that she should pay 3.5 million rubles ($110,000) in damages to the victims, RIA-Novosti reported.

The sentence relates to a July 21 incident in which 24-year-old Zaul struck seven people in her Land Rover SUV. The victims, five of whom subsequently died, were walking to a nearby bus stop on the roadside of Gorkovsky Shosse.

On Monday, Zaul's defense said she would appeal the ruling, since many of the victims were themselves breaking road-safety rules by walking along the roadside.

"Furthermore, the majority of victims were also intoxicated," Zaul's lawyer, Vladimir Zemlyansky, told journalists, Interfax reported.

Zaul's sentencing comes as government officials have promised to clamp down on drunk driving as part of a drive to improve Russia's dismal road-safety record.

On Oct. 5, Irina Yavoraya, of the ruling United Russia party, presented to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a proposal backed by State Duma deputies to increase drunk-driving penalties to a maximum of 50,000 rubles ($1,600) or 15 years in prison when two or more people die as a result.

Since launching the citywide Operation "Drunk Driver" in late September, Moscow traffic police have documented over 1,700 cases of drunk driving.

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