Ukrainian Colonel Sentenced to 13 Years for Cooperating With Donbas Militants
8 April, 2020

Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv City has sentenced Colonel Ivan Bezyazykov, who is being accused of cooperating with Donbas militants, to 13 years in prison on April 7. This was reported by the Media Initiative for Human Rights.

Bezyazykov's lawyer Oleh Veremiienko said that the defense is going to appeal the sentence.

Bezyazykov stated that he never agreed to cooperate with the militants. According to him, the militants were forcing him to do certain jobs: work with papers, make phone calls, meet with certain people. But he assured that none of his actions had harmed either the state or its citizens.

Lawyers said the prosecutors did not provide any direct evidence of involvement in the terrorist organization and treason. No witness testified about his cooperation with the militants.

Bezyazykov was captured by the militants in August 2014. He and two other officers allegedly went to militants with a "white flag" to retrieve the bodies of the dead soldiers. But other militants captured them.

READ MORE: Occupied Donbas Presents List of Captives They’re Willing to Exchange

Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) reported that Bezyazykov was freed during its special operation in July 2016. However, Bezyazykov’s wife said that her husband had been released in a secret exchange with the militants of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” which the SBU had forbidden to talk about, not in a special operation.

Bezyazykov was arrested on suspicion of treason and accused of cooperating with militants of the "DPR" in December 2016. Since then, he has been in a pre-trial detention center.

According to the SBU, in captivity Bezyazykov had sided with the militants and was giving them information about the movement of the Ukrainian military. The SBU released recordings of colonel's alleged telephone conversations with the militants.

/ by Vladyslav Kudryk