Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan|justice & crime|July 11, 2019 / 10:55 AM
Kyrgyzstan-born German sentenced for joining militants in Ukraine

AKIPRESS.COM - A German court found Kyrgyzstan-born Alex D. guilty of "jeopardizing state security" on Wednesday over his participation in the east Ukraine conflict, Deutsche Welle reported.

The 43-year-old factory worker had spent two years among the pro-Russian rebels. German laws forbid mercenaries from taking part in military conflicts abroad.

Alex D. pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years parole.

On one of the photos presented during trial, Alex is seen posing on a tank, others show him with an AK47, or with other mercenaries in uniform. It is hard to tell for sure what exactly the 43-year-old was doing for almost two years in the Donbass conflict zone. This is what has saved him from prison. Prosecutors in Dortmund are confident that Alex directly took part in combat.  But the prosecution failed to present enough evidence to support this accusation in court. 

Alex D. claims his motivation to join the conflict was honorable — he could not stand by and watch children suffering. It is unknown if he himself contributed to any child suffering, but the court took his claim seriously and ordered him to pay €800 to a children's charity. This is a substantial amount for a man who, according to his own words, makes about €1,100 ($1,233) per month putting together furniture.

Alex D. was born in Kyrgyzstan in 1975, where he attended elementary school and became a qualified plumber. His parents moved to Germany in 1995, and Alex followed in 2001. He had trouble finding a job in his field and could not speak German very well. "I started drinking, even though I haven't been drinking that much before, I started using drugs and so on," he told the court. He was convicted for several crimes, including rape, assault, and extortion.

The defendant's father is a Ukrainian. When the conflict in Ukraine started in 2014, Alex "took [it] close to heart" and considered his "civic duty" to help the pro-Russian rebels. In August 2014, he traveled to Russia and crossed over into separatist areas in Ukraine. Once in Donbass, Alex joined a less-known separatist militia dubbed The Kalmius Brigade. Alex said that the things he had seen in the conflict zone were "impossible to imagine for those living in peace."

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