The final statement in court by Igor Paskar, a Russian anti-war protester. From Solidarity Zone
On 31 May the Southern District military court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Igor Paskar to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment on charges of “vandalism” and “terrorism”. He was found guilty of burning a Z-banner [a pro-war symbol] and the symbolic firebombing of the FSB [federal security services] building in Krasnodar. The day before his sentencing, Igor gave his final statement in court. Here is a translation of his speech:
Almost a year has gone by since I carried out this action. During that year, I pictured this moment time and again, the moment when I would be given the opportunity to make my final statement. I agonised over the words I would say, and the motives that drove me to act as I did.
During the last sitting, your honour, you asked whether I regret my actions. I understood that the extent of my professed regret would influence the severity of the sentence. But if I renounced my beliefs, I would be acting against my conscience.
On the contrary, during the time I have been in prison, I have seen first-hand the injustices perpetrated against the people who we call our brothers: both prisoners of war who have served in the Ukrainian armed forces and ordinary Ukrainian citizens.
The war – or whatever term we use to label it – came to their homes, destroying their lives as they knew them. No matter what slogans and geopolitical interests we use to varnish this, in my eyes it can not be justified.
Do I regret what has happened? Yes, perhaps I’d wanted my life to turn out differently – but I acted according to my conscience, and my conscience remains clear.Read the rest of this entry »