The City Court of Ivano-Frankivsk has sentenced journalist Ruslan Kotsaba to 3.5 years in prison for obstructing the activities of the army, according to BBC Ukraine.
It started with a video on YouTube, in which he expressed his civil position: “I am against mobilization” calling on Ukrainians to refuse participating in the mobilization and not to go to war against the people of Donbass.
He added: “I’d better stay 2-5 in prison than go kill people of my country, living in the east.”
Ruslan Kotsaba was accused of treason and impeding the lawful activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations. According to the article, the journalist was to be jailed for 5-15 years. The prosecution asked for 13 years imprisonment.
The court ruled against the charge of high treason because of lack of evidence, but he was found guilty only in the obstruction of the army.
Mitigating circumstances: the first conviction and two young children. As Kotsaba is in jail since February 7, 2014, this period counted on a “day-to-two.” He will spend six more months to a year of punishment depending on appeal.
Amnesty International called Ruslan Kotsaba a prisoner of conscience and urged his release.
BACKGROUND: Ruslan Kotsaba is a Ukrainian journalist, blogger and activist. Widely known for his videos from the ATO regions, especially Luhansk. He covered the course of military operations in Donbass, visiting both sides of the conflict.