Ruslan Kotsaba

Ruslan Kotsaba (51 years old) - Ukrainian opposition journalist and blogger

He was detained by the Security Service of Ukraine in January 2015 on charge of high treason, which provides for 10 to 15 years of imprisonment.

The journalist filmed a video in which he called to ignore illegal mobilization because of fratricidal warfare and without declaration of war. Ruslan was accused of high treason and a disruption of mobilization. At the same time, the video was posted only on his social networking page.

He spent a year and a half in the confinement cell, after which he was fully acquitted in the Court of Appeal in the summer of 2016.

The prosecutor’s office managed to appeal the decision. Thus, the case was remitted back to Ivano-Frankivsk region Court of Appeal for a fresh trial. In October 2017, after another motion for recusal of the judge, the case was taken to the Kyiv Court of Appeal. The trials are proceeding.

After that the case was remitted back to the court of first instance. Litigation has been lasting for another year and a half after. Judges disqualify themselves in proceeding and do not want to be involved in this resonance case.

Only on February 19, 2018, the Dolinskyi court of Ivano-Frankivsk region took the liberty of returning the charging document to the prosecutor’s office due to absence of the wording of the charge. It happened after 3 years of litigation! The case is still not dismissed. We are observing the course of events.

In Kiev, the journalist is pursued by a radical grouping C14, whose leader previously said that C14 and other radicals are working on a tip of the Security Service of Ukraine. Radicals threaten the journalist, there were several attempts to beat and humiliate Ruslan Kotsaba. The police do not react to these law violations, they do not want to acknowledge a statement about the crime.

Interesting facts:

• Amnesty International recognized Kotsaba as a prisoner of conscience, the EU advocated his immediate release. As a result, the journalist was acquitted.

• Personal pages in social networks, video channels are not media and nobody can be held liable for the content on these pages.

On October 1, 2018 in the Ivano-Frankovsk branch of the SBU the journalist Ruslan Kotsaba and his lawyer familiarized themselves with the materials that allegedly update the cases of high treason and disrupting mobilisation. Previously, the court returned the proceedings to the Prosecutor's Office as being non-compliant with regulatory requirements. According to the journalist, the charges have not changed, the evidence also remained the same, but all of this litigation is necessary only to prevent the case being considered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

On January 21st the Dolinsky district court of the Ivano-Frankovsk region returned to the prosecutor the indictment concerning the case of the journalist Ruslan Kotsaba. The court established a significant number of violations committed by the pre-trial investigation body, namely the lack of accurate formulations concerning the commission of a criminal offense.

In February, 2019 the Court of Appeal of Ivano-Frankovsk, which in July 2016 recognized the well-known journalist and blogger Ruslan Kotsaba as innocent, decided to start considering his case anew. Thus, the court took the side of the prosecutor's office.

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