For nearly two years, Russia-backed separatists have been holding Ihor Kozlovsky, a prominent Ukrainian professor of religious studies from Donetsk, prisoner for his pro-Ukraine views. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government failed to pay Kozlovsky’s eldest son Svyatoslav, who suffers from Down Syndrome, a disability pension on a technicality related to his father’s imprisonment.
On December 8, Kozlovsky’s nephew, Denis Kozlovsky, and his younger son, Oleksandr, wrote on Facebook that Svyatoslav could not receive the pension because his father was listed as his only guardian. The family had appealed to the court to recognize Svyatoslav’s mother, Valentina Kozlovskaya, as his guardian. However, the judge decided that the current guardian must also be in attendance for her to make a ruling.
Despite official documentation from the Security Service of Ukraine confirming that Kozlovsky is illegally imprisoned by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic,” the judge nonetheless stated that she would summon him to court.
The Donetsk separatists detained Ihor Kozlovsky in January 2016. On May 3, 2017, the self-proclaimed “military tribunal of the DPR” sentenced him to two years and eight months in prison. Kozlovsky is one of several prominent political prisoners being held on the occupied territories.
In September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko even named Kozlovsky during a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, something that Oleksandr Kozlovsky referenced in his Facebook post.
“It increasingly appears that even if the the President of Ukraine pronounces your name from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly and international venues...this does not give any guarantees that your family members will receive help and support from the state in the non-occupied part of Ukraine,” he wrote.
/By Matthew Kupfer