On January 16, 2018 Russia-controlled so-called Rozdolnenskyi District Court located in occupied Crimea sentenced Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh to 3 years and 7 months in a penal colony and a 10,000 rubles fine.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union states that the case against Volodymyr Balukh was fabricated and politically motivated. Thus, from the very beginning of peninsula’s occupation, this Ukrainian citizen has been persecuted by Russian law enforcement and threatened with criminal liability for his openly pro-Ukrainian views. They conducted numerous illegal searches in Volodymyr’s home, confiscating a Ukrainian flag. During one of these searches, Crimean law enforcement officers found ammunition and explosives, which was later used for bringing unsubstantiated criminal charges against the Ukrainian activist.
During re-examination of Balukh’s case by a judge of the so-called Rozdolnenskyi District Court, evidence of the Ukrainian’s innocence was once again ignored, along with the evidence showing that the case against him was fabricated.
These circumstances and other instances of Volodymyr Balukh’s persecution in Crimea (https://helsinki.org.ua/articles/pidtrymajte-volodymyra-baluha-krymskoho-brantsya-kremlya/) constitute a grievous violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, and show all signs of politically motivated prosecution.
UHHRU stresses that any persecution of citizens by occupation authorities aimed at suppressing free thinking in Crimea is unacceptable.
We call on international organizations and governments of other states to condemn the persecution of Kremlin’s prisoner Volodymyr Balukh and the sentence announced on January 16, 2018, as well as to introduce personal sanctions against those responsible for persecuting, imprisoning and convicting Volodymyr Balukh.
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union urges the Ukrainian Government to conduct an effective investigation of the actions of Russian occupation authorities aimed at persecuting Volodymyr Balukh, call the persons responsible to account, and take specific and decisive action at the international level to secure the release of Balukh and other prisoners of Kremlin, putting an end to the persecution of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea.