14:21 31.03.2019

Ukrainian political prisoner Balukh kept in penal colony in Tver region – human rights activists

2 min read

Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh has been kept in a penal colony in the town of Torzhok, Tver region (the Russian Federation), the Crimean human rights group reported with reference to lawyer Taras Omelchenko.

Balukh will continue to serve his prison term there under an unlawful sentence of a Crimean "court".

Earlier, Russian journalist and activist Viktoria Ivleva wrote on Facebook that Balukh is in the solitary confinement in the Tver detention facility.

As reported, Balukh was transferred to Tver in late February

Ukrainian political activist Balukh, who placed the Ukrainian flag over his house in the occupied Crimea and refused to take it down on the local authorities' demads, was detained in December 2016. Crimea's Rozdolne district court originally sentenced him to three years and seven months of imprisonment in a low-security penal colony and to a fine of 10,000 Russian rubles. Balukh's defense team said then the case was fabricated, and his verdict would be appealed in courts of higher instances.

Then the Russia-controlled Rozdolne district court changed his sentence to five years in prison in a combination of two criminal cases. The Crimean farmer was accused of illegal possession of weapons and explosives (Part 1 of Article 222 and Part 1 of Article 222.1) and Part 2 of Article 321 (disorganization of the activities of institutions providing isolation from society) of Russia's Criminal Code.

On October 3, 2018, the so-called Supreme Court of Crimea commuted Balukh's sentence by one month.

In October 2018, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Liudmyla Denisova said after the decision of the so-called Supreme Court to commute Balukh's sentence he would be able to apply for parole.

However, on January 25, 2019, the Russia-controlled Kerch city court refused to release Balukh on parole.