In the evening of February, 21, Volodymyr Balukh, the Ukrainian political prisoner, was transferred from the Krasnodar prison. The Crimean human rights group reported this on Facebook.
It is highly likely that Balukh is being transferred to a colony, although to which one - neither his relatives nor his lawyers - were not informed. The reasons for his transportation from the Kerch colony to the colony in Russia are also unknown. The Crimean human rights group claims that such actions by the Russian authorities violate not only the international humanitarian law but the law of the Russian Federation as well.
According to article 73 of the Penal Enforcement Code of the Russian Federation, the convicts are serving their sentences in penal institutions on the Russian Federation territories, where they had been living or were convicted. In some exceptional cases, the convicts can be transferred to another penalty institution, if the health condition demands, if it is the matter of personal safety or if the convicts give their agreements.
“Volodymyr Balukh has not given any permissions on transferring him to the Russian Federation. The health condition allows him to serve his sentence in Crimea, and the personal safety vice versa is more endangered during the transportation to Russia than it was on the Crimean territories,” the human right defenders stated.
According to the Crimean human rights group, the transportation of Balukh also violates the article 49 VI of the Geneva Convention on the defense of the civil society during the war, which forbids transferring of citizens from the occupied territories to the territories of the occupant.
September 10, the Supreme Court of occupied Crimea controlled by the Kremlin did not grant the appeal of Volodymyr Balukh’s lawyer Olga Dinze on his conditional release. It was noted that the activist participated in the session through a video conference from the remand prison.
Balukh was arrested on December 8, 2016, nine days after he nailed a plaque renaming his home No. 18 “Heroes of Nebesna Sotnya St’ in memory of the over 100 Maidan activists who were killed during Euromaidan.
He had rejected demands from the head of the local council to remove it. During an irregular ‘search’ of his home, 90 bullets and several TNT explosive devices were allegedly ‘found’ in his attic.
The implausibility of the charges was just one of several compelling reasons why the renowned Memorial Human Rights Centre declared him a political prisoner well before the trial.