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You're reading: Ukrainians press online campaign to free scholar from separatist jail
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Ukrainians are taking to social media to post pictures of themselves holding a sheet of paper with #FreeKozlovskyy written on it – a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of an academic held in a jail controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists for more than a year.

Ihor Kozlovskyy, a historian and religious scholar, has been imprisoned by separatists in Donetsk for more than 400 days — he is one of more than 100 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians imprisoned in the Russian-controlled part of the Donbas.

Kozlovskyy is accused of keeping two grenades at home, according to his relatives, who call the accusation nonsense.

Singer Jamala, the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, musician Dmytro Shurov, Ukrainian band Onuka and other Ukrainian celebrities have joined in the campaign, which started last week.

Kozlovskyy, 63, who taught at Donetsk National Technical University before the war, was abducted by Russian-backed separatists on Jan. 27 from his apartment in Donetsk, where he was staying to look after his disabled son.

The arrest took place after someone blew up a monument to Vladimir Lenin in the center of Donetsk, an event which some observers believe was staged by separatists to start a wave of terror against pro-Ukrainian activists still remaining in Donetsk. Kozlovskyy had previously been an activist: in March-October 2014, he organized an inter-confessional marathon “for peace and unity in Ukraine,” which was later banned by the separatists.

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