Ukraine: Russian-backed separatists ‘sentence’ prominent academic in sham trial

The de facto authorities of the self-proclaimed, Russian-backed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine have convicted a retired university professor after unfair and absurd proceedings, Amnesty International said today.

The organization named the academic, Ihor Kozlovsky, 63, a prisoner of conscience after the unofficial military court yesterday “sentenced” him to two years and eight months behind bars on trumped-up charges of weapons possession.

“If the outcome were not so serious, it would be laughable that the de facto prosecution presented the court with two metal pipes as ‘evidence’ that Kozlovsky was keeping weapons in his home. But it is outrageous that this renowned former academic will spend time behind bars as a prisoner of conscience,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

“All Ihor Kozlovsky is ‘guilty’ of is his opposition to the de facto authorities in Donetsk. This clearly transpired as soon as the ‘judge’ described him as ‘an especially untrustworthy citizen’ on account of some of his past contacts. This sham trial by unrecognized authorities cannot stand and he must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Amnesty International is also urging the de facto authorities in Donetsk to refrain from the practice of unlawfully detaining civilians in the territory under their control.