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Ukrainian conscientious objector on trial

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Ukrainian journalist and CO Ruslan Kotsaba is on trial in Ivano-Frankivsk. Ruslan has been in detention for almost a year, charged with treason and obstructing the military. In a video addressed to the Ukrainian President, he declared his refusal to be drafted, saying he would rather go to prison for five years than turn a weapon on his "compatriots in the east". He called on his fellow countrymen to refuse to be drafted. Ukrainian law does allow individuals to refuse military service, but this right is confined to a small group of religious minorities. He could face 15 years in gaol. Observers from DFG-VK were present, and rallied outside the court. The trial is ongoing.

Sources: Connection e.V.; Ukraine: Ruslan Kotsaba affirms refusal to take up arms - Observers report from the day in court in Ivano-Frankivsk, 5th February 2016; The Guardian, Ukraine: draft dodgers face jail as Kiev struggles to find new fighters, 10th February 2016; Connection e.V., Ukraine: Solidarity with Ruslan Kotsaba! 22 February 2016.


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