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Defend the freedom of Ruslan Kotsaba imprisoned in Ukraine

Written declaration No. 609 | Doc. 14103 | 23 June 2016

Signatories:
Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Mr Jokin BILDARRATZ, Spain, ALDE ; Ms Anastasia CHRISTODOULOPOULOU, Greece, UEL ; Mr Tuur ELZINGA, Netherlands, UEL ; Ms Annette GROTH, Germany, UEL ; Mr Matjaž HANŽEK, Slovenia, UEL ; Ms Lotta JOHNSSON FORNARVE, Sweden, UEL ; Mr Ögmundur JÓNASSON, Iceland, UEL ; Ms Nina KASIMATI, Greece, UEL ; Ms Ioanneta KAVVADIA, Greece, UEL ; Ms Filiz KERESTECİOĞLU DEMİR, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Ertuğrul KÜRKÇÜ, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Georgios KYRITSIS, Greece, UEL ; Mr George LOUCAIDES, Cyprus, UEL ; Ms Liliane MAURY PASQUIER, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Rasmus NORDQVIST, Denmark, UEL ; Mr Hişyar ÖZSOY, Turkey, UEL ; Mr Georgios PSYCHOGIOS, Greece, UEL ; Mr António Filipe RODRIGUES, Portugal, UEL ; Mr Nikolaj VILLUMSEN, Denmark, UEL

In January 2015, the journalist Ruslan Kotsaba published a video message to Ukranian President Poroschenko demanding a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine and negotiations with all parties involved. He declared that he would refuse military service and called for the boycott of the mobilisation.

On 12 May 2016, the journalist and conscientious objector Kotsaba was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment for obstructing the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Already in spring 2015 Mr Kotsaba was declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International because his prosecution is a violation of the freedom of expression. Likewise, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Ukrainian Parliament, Lutkovska Valeriia Volodymyrivna, criticised the judgment as a violation of the freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

We, the undersigned, resolutely condemn the violations of the freedom of expression of Article 10 ECHR and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion of Article 9 ECHR safeguarding also the right to conscientious objection. We call for the immediate release of Ruslan Kotsaba, his recognition as a conscientious objector and the repeal of the judgment.

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