Volodymyr Balukh

Володимир Балух / Владимир Балух / Volodymyr Balykh

Occupation:

Farmer

Lawyer:

Dmytro Dinze

Incrimination:

storage of ammuniation (p. 1 art. 222 of Russia’s Criminal Code);

using force against a representative of the authorities (p. 1 art. 318 of Russia’s Criminal Code)

Detained:

13.03.2017

Sentenced:

3 years 7 months in a penal colony (verdict cancelled by the “Supreme Court of Russia” on 2.10.2017, yet the “Rozdolnensky District Ccourt” left it in force on 16.01.2018); a 10,000 ruble fine

Mailing address:

01004, Kyiv, vul. Baseina 9-H, of. 25, Center of Civil Liberties, Balukh Volodymyr, born 1971

316
днів в ув’язненні
After the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Volodymyr Balukh, a farmer and activist who lived in the northern part of the peninsula, systematically hung the Ukrainian flag on his house and the house of his common-law wife. His house was searched on multiple occasions and the flag was torn down by law enforcers. During one of the searches, he was beaten up by them.

On 29 November 2016, Balukh hung a plaque with the inscription “Street of the Heroes of the Heaven’s Hundred” on the wall of his own house, referring to the activists slain during Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution. On the same day, the head of the collaborationist village council Vitaliy Stepaniuk came to visit him, threatening to call the police, and demanding Balukh take down the plaque.

On 8 December 2016, Volodymyr Balukh was arrested in his house in the Serebrianka village of the Rozdolnensky raion of Crimea. He was incriminated with illegally storing ammunition and explosives (70 rounds for a Kalashnikov gun, 19 cartridges and 5 pieces of TNT) which were presumably found on the attic of his common law wife. Balukh did not plead guilty. He stated that the case against him was fabricated with the participation of Dmitry Popov, the head of the criminal prosecution of the Rozdolnenskyi police department, and that explosives and ammunition were planted.

On 4 August 2017, the so-called “Rozdolnensky District Court” sentenced Baluch to 3 years and 7 months of imprisonment and a fine of 10 thousand rubles. In early October, the “Supreme Court” of Crimea abolished this verdict and directed the case for additional investigation, but retained the preventive measure in the form of holding the activist under custody. The “Rozdolnensky District Court” on December 1 changed the preventive measure house arrest. However, on January 16, 2018, the same court left the verdict in force, sentencing the Crimean farmer to three years and seven months of imprisonment and a fine of 10,000 rubles. Until the appeal is considered, Balukh will be held in the pretrial detention center.

However, in August, a new criminal case was opened against Balukh. He was accused of beating the head of the temporary detention center (Part 1, Article 318 of the Criminal Code – the use of violence against a representative of power). This happened after the defense of Balukh filed a complaint stating the opposite: that it was the chief of the detention center Valery Tkachenko who hit the prisoner, insulted him with abusive words and humiliated him on the basis of his nationality.

Details: 

Exculpatory evidence:

Human rights defenders consider the criminal case against Balukh continues the activist’s persecution for his pro-Ukrainian position. Shortly before the ammunition and explosives were “discovered” in the house belonging to his common law wife, the activist was offered a choice: to either leave Crimea, or go to prison. He stayed on the peninsula to care for his elderly mother.

An examination held on the insistence of lawyer Dmytro Dinze, revealed that the ammunition and explosives had fingerprints of the accused, or other signs that he had ever touched them, but concluded that “establishing this is impossible.” The court refused to conduct a re-examination, as well as to conduct a “complex dactyloscopic, biological and genetic expertise.”  Balukh did possess have any firearms. According to the materials of the case, the cartridges were produced in 1982 in the Russian city of Barnaul. An expertise on the suitability of explosive devices for their intended use was not carried out at all.

Volodymyr Balukh claims that he saw an unknown person climb to the attic an hour and a half before the witnesses got there.

 

Torture and harsh treatment 

While being in the pretrial detention center, the prisoner complained of heart problems, associated with the absence of fresh air in his cell, as well as the lack of medication and adequate nutrition.

The food prepared there is inedible. All that they can eat are the parcels which relatives and activists pass to them.

Olha Skrypnyk, the coordinator of the Crimean human rights protection group

According to the complaint of Balukh’s defense, the head of the pretrial detention center personally beat him and insulted him on the basis of his nationality.

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