Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ukrainian journalist faces 15 years in jail after calls to boycott the draft | openDemocracy

A Ukrainian journalist has been arrested for publishing a video calling on his fellow citizens to boycott mobilisation. He is being charged with treason and espionage.

A court in the western Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk has ordered the arrest of a local freelance journalist on charges of espionage and high treason after he published a video on YouTube calling on Ukrainian citizens to boycott the mobilisation of Ukrainian men to fight a ‘fratricidal war’ in Ukraine’s east.

Ruslan Kotsaba, a freelance contributor to various Ukrainian TV channels, was arrested in the early hours of Sunday 8 February, according to Ukrainian media reports quoting the journalist’s wife. The court ruled on the same day that he should be held on remand for two months until his trial. Media representatives were reportedly barred from video and audio recording in the courtroom during the session.

Markiyan Lubkivsky, an adviser to the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said in a comment posted on his Facebook page on Sunday that materials have been seized from Kotsaba’s house, ‘which may indicate the commission of crimes’ under Article 111 (treason) and 114 (espionage) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code.

If convicted Kotsaba, 48, faces up to 15 years in prison.

Referring to the video that Kotsaba posted on YouTube, the court said in its ruling that his anti-mobilisation calls ‘hampered lawful activities of Ukraine’s Armed Forces’ and that they constituted ‘subversive activities’ against Ukraine.

In the video, Kotsaba, who has travelled to the eastern regions where government troops are waging a war against Russia-backed separatists, called on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko – whom he says he had voted for in last year’s elections – to stop the fighting in the country’s restive Donbas region. A father of two children, he proclaimed that he would rather go to jail for dodging mobilisation than agree to kill his own compatriots ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ he exclaimed at the end of the video.

Complete story at - Ukrainian journalist faces 15 years in jail after calls to boycott the draft | openDemocracy

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