Crimean political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, who has now been on a hunger strike for over three weeks, was beaten up by court security officers.
This emerged from the comments given by Balukh’s lawyer Olga Dinze to RFE/RL's Krym Realii (Crimea Realities) site yesterday. She says the attack happened at the Razdolne District Court after a court hearing regarding Balukh’s appeal last month.
Photo credit: Nataliya Gumenyuk/HROMADSKE
Balukh was sentenced to three years and seven months in a colony-settlement in January this year on what rights groups say are fabricated charges of ammunition possession. He was arrested in late 2016 after more than a year of frequent visits from Russia’s security service.
Balukh’s sentence was reduced by the Crimean Supreme Court to three years and five months in March. It is believed that the 46-year-old became a target for Russian authorities in annexed Crimea because of his openly pro-Ukrainian views.
Balukh declared the start of his hunger strike on March 19 to protest his sentence. He only drinks water and tea. Since then, the state of his health has reportedly deteriorated.
Dinze said that they are planning to file a complaint in relation to this attack. Krym Realii has also mentioned that there have been no public comments by Russian law enforcement agencies regarding the issue.
The lawyer also said that the detention center’s administration has failed to provide Balukh with water, due to the fact that the political prisoner is on hunger strike. When asked about the state of his health, Dinze said it is “bad but not critical.”
/By Maria Romanenko