Sukop was threatened with 12 to 20 years in prison for these acts, but the rate is increased by a third because, according to the indictment, he committed crimes in favor of an organized criminal group.
“As for the fact that the defendant left the territory of the Czech Republic, that he participates in the structure of separatist groups, we had no doubts about that,” said Judge Silvie Slepičková.
She pointed out, for example, the communication Sukup, among others, and the photos he sent them. According to her, Sukup, for example, boasted of medals for “combat merit and liberation of Donbas”.
Sukup was released from the Czech army in 1997. According to the indictment, with the intention of supporting separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, he traveled to the Donetsk region in June 2014, where he was armed and equipped and actively participated in the fighting against Ukrainian government troops.
According to prosecutor Marek Bodlák, they held various positions in the military structures of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic until at least May 2018.
The lawyer denied the client’s guilt
Sukup’s lawyer Klára Tvrdá denied guilt on Monday for her client.
“The defendant contradicts all the facts stated in the indictment, I do not agree with the indictment and I feel innocent,” said the lawyer.
Before sending the verdict, she added that it had not been possible to prove Sukup’s guilt, according to her, the accusation is based only on newspaper articles and Sukup’s statements on social networks.
The lawyer pointed out that the contributions did not have to be written by Sukup, or they could have been exaggerated. She added that it was necessary to consider the possibility that the man did not go to Ukraine to fight, but only to start a new life there, as evidenced by the fact that he started a family in the new country.
Czech law provides protection against terrorist acts and foreign states. Should Sukup be caught and transferred to the Czech Republic in the future, you can request a new hearing. In the new proceedings, the courts must not punish more severely than the first time.
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions are located in the very east of Ukraine. Before the conflict that erupted in the spring of 2014, 6.6 million people lived in both areas. The pro-pro-separatists proclaimed self-proclaimed states, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic. The armed conflict has claimed thousands of lives since then. Ukraine and the West blame Russia for the military support of the separatists, Moscow denies it.
Ukrainian struggles in Czech courts
Czech courts have already dealt with several cases related to the fight in Ukraine. For example, a former Czech soldier has been charged with terrorism in the past Erik Eštu, however, the courts eventually punished him for serving in the foreign armed forces with a suspended sentence.
Alexei Fadeev The Prague City Court initially imposed 4.5 years for participation in an organized criminal group, but according to the Court of Appeal, it committed the terrorist attack from which it was originally charged. Fadějev was thus sentenced by the court to 21 years in prison. Martin Kantor, who was also prosecuted as a fugitive, was sentenced by a court to 20 years in prison.
Next week, the High Court in Prague will deal with it the case of Lukáš Nováček, who was illegally sentenced by the Pilsen Regional Court in September for a terrorist attack and for participating in an organized criminal group to 20 years in prison. The man is accused of conducting military tasks in eastern Ukraine, including intelligence, guard and patrolling. The newcomer admitted to travel to Ukraine and stay in the barracks of the separatists, but refused to take part in combat operations with them. The newcomer was summoned to court as a witness in Sukup’s case, but he refused to testify due to his prosecution.