Yesterday, on April 24th, presidium of the ‘Supreme Court of Crimea’ considered a cassational representation of the local ‘prosecutor’s office’. A deputy prosecutor asked for cancelling an appeal resolution of the ‘Supreme Court’ of Crimea for Mr Balukh regarding including the time spent on house arrest into the total custodial period. ‘Prosecutor’s Office’ asked for recalculating this period and, for this purpose. for starting a new appeal consideration of the criminal case, with a new court composition.
But ‘judge’ Igor Radionov, according to the lawyer’s words, declared a completely unexpected decision that contradicts the Russian laws. The ‘court’ decided on worsening the activist’s situation, namely, on not accounting the time spent by him in the detention center as one day for one day ahd a half. RF CC Article 73-2 states explicitly that the time of custodial detention shall be accounted into the imprisonment period as one day for one day and a half in the general mode penal colony. The ‘court’ decided to account this period as day for day, that meant extending the sentence service time in the colony. Moreover, the ‘court’ passed this decision even without sending this case for appeal as asked by the prosecutor.
Mr Volodymyr Balukh participated in the ‘court’ session by video call, looked very exhausted, according to the lawyer’s words, and was surely extremely indignant with such judge’s decision.
The final grounds for such decision would become clear when the lawyer has been handed the court ruling.
Ms Olga Skrynyk, the Crimean Human Rights Group head, hopes that the judge will understand this major mistake made, and the time spent in the detention center will be eventually accounted in the ruling as one day for day and a half. Otherwise the defence would appeal against this decision.
‘From December 8th 2016 and till the last sentence against Mr Volodymyr Balukh came in force (October 3rd 2018) he was constantly in the Detention Center. Just once he was released on house arrest on December 1st 2017. But on January 16th 2018 he was again put under detention in the court room. This means that all other time is the Detention Center, and according to the amendments to the Russian laws, a judge should account this time under the principle: one day in the detention center equals to one day and a half in the colony. If the judge does not this, then it becomes obvious that it has been decided to extend unlawfully the time of Mr Balukh’s staying in the colony’, Ms Skrypnyk concluded.
We would remind that political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh placed a flag of Ukraine on his house in the Crimean village during the Maydan events in Kyiv (Revolution of Dignity, 2013 – 2014). After the occupation of the peninsula he did not take it down, that made him a subject for the Russian authorities’ persecutions. Since April 2015 his house had been unlawfully searched, with the Ukrainian state flag being taken down from his house and withdrawn. Then he was persecuted under fake administrative and criminal cases.
In October 2018 ‘the Supreme Court’ of Crimea revised a sentence for the Ukrainian who had been sentenced to 5 years in the colony, and reduced the sentence period by one month – to 4 years and 11 months in the colony and a fine of RUR10,000. On October 18th Mr Balukh was moved to the Kerch penal colony No 2.
In February 2019 Mr Volodymyr Balukh, without his consent, and wit breach of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War was convoyed from Crimea to Tver Region of the RF, to Torzhok penal colony No 4.
Now he is unlawfully kept in the RF colony where he is treated in a most prejudged and intolerant way because of his Ukrainian position and fight against the Russian repressive system. Staying of the Ukrainian activist in the Russian colony puts his life and health at serious risk.