“It’s not just an acquittal. This is a chance for peace,” – said the newspaper VIEW Ukrainian journalist Ruslan kotsaba, who was acquitted on charges of espionage. Now he intends to tell the European Union about what is happening in Ukraine, and believes that the people of Ukraine are tired of the civil war.
On Thursday, two months after the verdict, released a Ukrainian journalist Ruslan kotsaba. The court of appeal of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast upheld the complaint of his lawyer and admitted that no crime has been committed. The journalist has said it will demand compensation for the time spent in prison.
“This war may develop into the world, so you need to take more responsibility for this”
Earlier, the court of the same region recognized Cocabo guilty and was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for obstructing the work of the armed forces of Ukraine and espionage. He also was suspected of treason – “the transmission or gathering to transfer foreign state, foreign organization or their representatives of information constituting a state secret”. It was about some kind of cooperation with Russia, but the evidence was not provided.
The official political prisoner
The journalist was arrested on February 8, 2015 and has been in jail for more than a year – the sentence was read out on 12 may 2016. He himself even before the verdict said that is the first and only political prisoner of conscience in Ukraine, whose status is recognized by the international organizations.
Indeed, the human rights organization Amnesty International in February Cocabo recognized a prisoner of conscience. Such decision the organisation has made for the first time in five years. “The position of Ruslan Kotsaba can be treated differently. But by arresting him for expressing citizenship, the Ukrainian government violates the fundamental human right to freedom of expression, which Ukrainians defended on the Maidan,” said Amnesty International.
Kotsaba was arrested after in his blog on LiveJournal posted a video where he spoke out against mobilization. On the record he is in the Ukrainian language says: “I refuse mobilization” and refers to Petro Poroshenko asking not to send him a summons saying that he is against the killing of compatriots. He says he’s afraid of what it will be called a spy, and blame the fact that he was “shaking hands with Putin.” He also says that is not seen in the Donbass Russian regular troops, but the war calls the great universal injustice. Kotsaba asks appropriate people to abandon mobilization.
Ukrainian media interpreted the words Kotsaba as the call to “defend their homeland”. The journalist was actively covered events in Ukraine in 2014, have repeatedly visited the Donbass were against the continuation of the civil war.
“Ruslan kotsaba had opposed mobilization, spoke about the conflict as a “fratricidal”. The court decision on his case, according to which he was taken into custody, refers to this statement as the main evidence of his offense,” – said on this occasion the defenders.
In an interview with the newspaper OPINION journalist spoke about what will now be further actions in freedom.
VIEW: Ruslan Petrovich, how are you going to dispose of the opportunities that appear after the release?
Ruslan kotsaba: first, I want to come back. 524 days in jail is a physical and psychological trauma. I strongly undermined health. In a month I will turn fifty years old, and I after a stroke and heart attack. But even if I’m not allowed to engage in objective journalism, that is, to show the two sides of the conflict, I will be engaged in human rights activities. But the important thing is that today I am free. Now let’s see their daughters. Prison didn’t break me, and the more freedom will not break.
R. K.: In jail for some reason I thought everything about me was forgotten. I even thought that maybe I shouldn’t have stood up for God’s commandment, “thou shalt Not kill”… But now I see how much interested in my fate, supported. Now next to me wife, Juliana and lawyer Tatyana Montyan. They say that in the European Union know about me. I am very pleased.
OPINION: What does the acquittal of the court?
R. K.: I have argued, and judges have confirmed this verdict that communication with Russian colleagues is not treason, what not all Russian journalists priori spies. It is positive that you want to convey, not afraid to go on contact. This could be the beginning of a Renaissance. The world will still be: we will lose the Donbass and not lose. But at what cost peace is achieved? We understand that in the civil war there is no winner, and the winner is the third party.
What helped me today to get out of jail must influence policy makers. People are tired of war. All of this cacophony of hatred has got to stop. The government itself then will not know what to do with the hatred that she created propaganda. This hatred will arise even where they do not expect.
LOOK: You are going to tell the European politicians that happened to you in Ukraine?
R. K.: I’m not just going, I’m aiming for it. It’s not just an acquittal. This is a chance for peace. I hope that the journalists who still have moral authority and objectively tell about the conflict in the Donbass, will come up with something original and fresh public diplomacy. For example, each will look in your phone numbers of your friends or acquaintances on the other side of the front and just call and ask about whether you need something to help. This kindness will leave a mark, I believe it.
Here, much depends on megagrams, from geopolitics. Ukraine, unfortunately, is not the subject and object of politics. And she only formally independent because it depends only on the IMF loans. The whole economy is zero. The Ukrainian language is called “ruin”, and if translated into Russian, “a complete mess”.
From journalists, much depends. If we just, then we have a chance to become moral authorities, and not to get on the list of war criminals. Perhaps today I got a little excited when told that Poroshenko will sit in the same chamber, but this power is too long. This war may escalate into world, therefore, need to take more responsibility for it.
The LOOK: are You going to increase your own safety measures?
R. K.: to Deal with the security needs of the VIPs. And I know how many illegal weapons as morally broken people after the war, so no one can guarantee any security. There is only hope in God and a miracle.
Ruslan Bortnik, Director of the Institute of policy analysis and management
Kotsaba was a very uncomfortable thing. Amnesty international declared him a prisoner of conscience. The name of Kotsaba was heard at the international forums and meetings. The evidence base against him was extremely weak and absolutely far-fetched. He was practically a prisoner of conscience and strongly spoiled the image of Poroshenko, the Ukrainian authorities abroad. Further content Kotsaba in custody would make him an icon of resistance, that too was hardly in the interests of the Ukrainian authorities. Therefore, the main version is that he became for the government as a suitcase without a handle: you can carry hard and release the mind… ultimately decided to release. Although we can not exclude the fact that the release of Kotsaba is part of a larger process, which was released Savchenko… there Is a slow interchange, the exchange of people // LOOK
Vladimir Kornilov, Director of the Center for Eurasian studies
Case Kotsaba was too obvious, that is, he was accused of a crime he certainly did not commit. So it was a cynical violation of the freedom of human rights journalist. He stood up very reputable international human rights organizations. That is, the pressure on Kiev refused from outside, including from Russia and Europe. Apparently, in Kiev, someone decided that to keep the journalist behind bars themselves will be more expensive. This is not done “without some sort of trading behind the scenes, but in the judgment of the court of first instance was made “such a hideous violation that the court of appeal particularly. I am very worried about Cocabo. We saw what he did with the Elder (journalist Oles Buzina was killed in Kiev in April of last year)… I do not exclude that the freedom Kotsaba can be more dangerous than prison. So in his place I would have walked so freely in restaurants, as he now does. He should at least think about their safety, about moving to another town, where it is less threatening to all sorts of fighters // LOOK