New Cold War.org, Jan 26, 2016
A hearing took place at the European Parliament on January 26 on the case of imprisoned Ukrainian journalist Ruslan Kotsaba. The event was sponsored by Member of the European Parliament Tatjane Ddanoka from Latvia. Speakers were Tatiana Montyan, Kotsaba’s Ukrainian legal defender, Denis Krivosheev, Regional Deputy Director of Amnesty International, and Adrien Collin, program officer at the International Federation of Journalists. You can view a two-minute video clip of the hearing here.
Ruslan Kotsaba was arrested on February 7, 2015 and charged with treason after posting a video addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in which he criticized compulsory military conscription in Ukraine and called on his fellow citizens to boycott it. He opposes the war being waged by Ukraine agains thte people of the Donbass region in the east of the country.
Amnesty international has declared Kotsaba a “prisoner of conscience”.
In December 2015, 34 members of the European Parliament signed a letter condemning the arrest of Ruslan Kotsaba for “simply for doing his work” and calling for his immediate release. Below is the full text.
Open letter from European Parliamentarians in support of Ukrainian journalist Ruslan KOTSABA
Strasbourg, December 15, 2015
We, Members of the European Parliament, are calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Ruslan KOTSABA, a journalist jailed in Ukraine since February 7, 2015, simply for doing his work. Two days after his arrest, Amnesty International stated that it considers Kotsaba to be a prisoner of conscience. Ruslan Kotsaba is prosecuted for “betrayal of the motherland” according to article 111, part 1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code. The court has regularly prolonged his pre-trial detention.
Ukraine, as an upcoming candidate country to join the European Union, is obliged to respect the right to freedom of expression as set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
Members of the European Parliament:
Tatjana ZOANOKA (Greens/EFA group)
Yana TOOM (ALOE group)
Andrejs MAMIKINS (S&O group)
Helmut SCHOLZ (EUUNGL group)
Georges BACH (EPP group)
Heidi HAUTALA (Greens/EFA group)
lvo VAJGL (ALOE group)
Georgi PIRINSKI (S&D group)
Kostadinka KUNEVA (EUL/NGL group)
Jose Inacio FARIA (ALOE group)
Sabine LOSING (EUL/NGL group)
Mady DELVAUX (S&D group)
Juan Carlos GIRAUTA VIDAL (ALOE group)
Miloslav RANSDORF (EUL/NGL group)
Javier NART (ALOE group)
Curzio MALTESE (EUL/NGL group)
Roger HELMER(EFDD group)
Javier COUSO PERMUY (EUL/NGL group)
Josep-Maria TERRICABRAS (Greens/EFA ·group)
Miguel URBAN CRESPO (EUL/NGL group)
Alyn SMITH (Greens/EFA group)
Josu JUARISTI (EUL/NGL group)
Nessa CHILDERS (S&D group)
Jordi SEBASTIA (Greens/EFA group)
Paloma LOPEZ BERMEJO (EUL/NGL group)
Jiri MASTALKA (EUL/NGL group)
Dario TAMBURRANO (EFDD group)
Fabio-DE MASI (EUL/NGL group)
Jill EVANS (Greens/EFA group)
Barbara SPINELLI (EUL/NGL group)
Stefan Bernard ECK (EUL/NGL group)
Eugen FREUND (S&D group)
Marina ALBIOL (EUL/NGL group)
Takis HADJIGEORGIOU (EUL/NGL group)