Crimean court refuses to release political prisoner Balukh on parole

Source : 112 Ukraine

The representatives of the penal colony rejected such option
18:49, 25 January 2019

Radio Liberty

The court in the annexed Crimea refused to release Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh on parole. The representatives of the colony and assistant of the Crimean prosecutor objected against this option, as Crimean Human Rights Group reported.

On January 25, judge of Kerch City Court Alexandr Kovalev considered the case of activist Volodymyr Balukh. The activists from other districts of Crimea arrived to support the Ukrainian.

Related: Ukraine’s Ombudsman asks Russia to provide political prisoner Bekirov with medical aid

The representatives of Kerch colony, where Balukh serves sentence stood against his release. According to them, the activist stays in colony less than six months and they did not succeed to consider his personality well.

Gennady Trofimov, the assistant of Crimean prosecutor also stood against the release on parole. He stated that 51 violations were spotted during the stay of Volodymyr in the colony and he was put on three types of the preventive record besides, Balukh is considered “inclined to attacks at the representatives of the law enforcement bodies”.

Related: Ukraine's political prisoner Sentsov writes his health and mood are fine

Earlier, the deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Ahtem Chyigoz, reported that Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh was beaten up and threatened to get killed in the Simferopol remand center.  

According to the Deputy Chairman, Balukh was taken out from his cell, severely beaten up and is threatened to get killed.

Related: Ukrainian political prisoners kept in Russia

On 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. 

Related: Ukrainian political prisoner Kolchenko out of isolation cell in Russia

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. 

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KhPG) stated that he had no record of violence and the constant searches and series of administrative prosecutions he had faced since Russia’s invasion of Crimea for his openly pro-Ukrainian position made it inconceivable that he could have held anything illegal in his home.  

Related: Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov wrote novel in Russian prison

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.

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