Russian-controlled Rozdolne district court has sentenced Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh to 5 years in a standard regime penal colony and fined $158. This was reported by Krym.Realii.
The activist was sentenced to such a prison term on two criminal cases.
The judge announced in the verdict that Balukh committed a crime in connection with "animus toward the current system of government, as evidenced by earlier committed crimes".
On July 2, the Russian prosecutor requested 4 years of a standard regime penal colony for Balukh on charges of disrupting the prison cell's work, and taking into account the first criminal case – 6 years in a standard regime penal colony and a fine of $158. This case against the activist was initiated because of the statement of head of the prison cell in the village of Rozdolne Valeriy Tkachenko who claims that Balukh has beaten him. At the same time, the activist himself and his defense declare that it was Tkachenko who attacked him.
Earlier, the court extended the preventive measure in the form of detention to the Ukrainian activist until August 14. Balukh continues an indefinite hunger strike, which he announced on March 19, 2018. The FSB of Russia detained Volodymyr Balukh on December 8, 2016. The FSB employees claimed that they found 90 rounds and several TNT blocks in the attic of house where Volodymyr Balukh lives. The court in the Crimea found Balukh guilty of possession of ammunition and sentenced him to 3 years and 5 months in a penal colony settlement, as well as to a fine of $158.
The defense of Balukh and human rights activists assert that he was a victim of repression for his pro-Ukrainian position – because of the flag of Ukraine which was in the courtyard of his house.
The MFA of Ukraine and USA insist on the release of Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh by the Russian authorities.