Ukraine: Conscientious Objector Vitaliy Alekseinko sentenced to a year in prison must be acquitted
On 15 September 2022 conscientious objector Vitaliy Vasyliovych Alekseienko, was found guilty of ‘evasion of military service during mobilisation' and sentenced to a year in prison. Alekseienko filed an appeal in which he asked to be released with a probation term. The Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal, which originally scheduled 17 November for the hearing of his appeal, has later postponed it to 12 December 2022. If you haven't written to the Court already, you can still send your emails of support for Vitaliy to the Court until 12 December.
Vitaliy Alekseienko completed his alternative service in 1998 in the city of Zarafshon (Republic of Uzbekistan), where he had lived with his family from the age of 12 until he moved to Sloviansk in Donetsk oblast of Ukraine. Following the Russian invasion, he moved from Sloviansk to Ivano-Frankivsk and was registered at the Administrative Service Center as an internally displaced person. From the Administrative Service Centre he was directed to the Ivano-Frankivsk City Territorial Centre of Recruitment and Social Support of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. On the same day, he appeared at the recruitment center, where he immediately underwent a medical examination.
On 1 June 2022, the recruitment center issued Vitaliy Alekseienko an order to appear on 2 June 2022 and start his military service. He appeared and explained that due to his religious beliefs he cannot serve in the military and take up arms, and that he can only undergo alternative service which he previously did in Uzbekistan. He was given an extension to to present documents confirming his statement. On 6 June 2022, he appeared at the recruitment center again, where he was denied a referral to alternative service. He was informed that he needed to serve in a military unit. He did not agree and stated that he refused to perform military service due to his religious beliefs. In response, the officers at the recruitment center contacted the police to initiate a criminal investigation.
Eventually, Alekseienko appeared in court and was sentenced to one year in prison. It was despite that the prosecution and the defence asked for the release of Vitaliy Alekseenko from incarceration with a probationary period.
Vitaliy Alekseienko filed an appeal in which he asked to be released with a probation term. The Ivano-Frankivsk Court of Appeal originally scheduled a hearing of his appeal to take place on 17 November 2022, which was later postponed to 12th December.
How to support?
WRI stands in solidarity with Vitaliy Alekseienko, Ukrainian Pacifist Movement and all conscientious objectors, war resisters and pacifists in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for further updates on the situation of conscientious objectors in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Also see our ongoing campaign #ObjectWar to support the protection of deserters and conscientious objectors from the region here.