Today in occupied Crimea, the Razdolnensky District Court sentenced pro-Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh to 3 years and 7 months of imprisonment in a colony-settlement and to a fine of 10 thousand rubles.
As reported by the Crimean Human Rights Group, the verdict was handed down by Judge Mariya Bedritska.
Balukh is accused of illegally storing ammunition and explosives, which were allegdeldy found in the attic of his house.
Balukh denied his guilt. The Ukrainian’s defense stated that the case against him was falsified and that the verdict will be appealed in higher instances.
The judge, while reading the verdict, announced that all evidence collected by the investigation was legal.
Arguments about the illegality of the prosecution and the arguments of the defense about the possibility that the evidence was planted were considered as untenable by the court.
“The “court” has not established the circumstances that might mitigate the responsibility”, - Bedritska said.
On August 1, Volodymyr Balukh, while announcing the closing statement at the “court” hearing, stated that the criminal case against him is a political order and detailed about the reasons for the falsification of the criminal case against him.
At one of the court hearings on July 27, Balukh felt faint and a first aid was called. Then, the defense of the Ukrainian stated that all documents submitted by the prosecution were drawn up with procedural violations. Moreover, the data on the number of ammunition and the weight of TNT, which were allegedly found in the attic of Balukh’s house, differs in the documents of the investigation.
As a reminder, On December 8, 2016, FSB conducted searches in the house of Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh and his mother in the village of Serebryanka, Razdolnensky district of Crimea. Volodymyr Balukh was detained after the searches. Law enforcers claimed that they have found ammunition and several TNT blocks were found in the attic.
On December 12 Razdolnensky District Court of Crimea has chosen a measure of restraint for Balukh in the form of detention for a month. The court disregarded the fact that the procedural documents were drafted with significant violations.
On March 2, it became known that the court extended the arrest of Balukh until June 4, 2017.
The persecution of Balukh has been going on since the spring of 2015 and the mass media reported about the trial against the activist since early 2016.
In December 2013, with the beginning of the Maidan, Volodymyr hung the Ukrainian flag on the roof of his house, which remained there after the occupation of Crimea by Russia. He openly declared his refusal to recognize the annexation.
On February 8, 2017, Russian human rights center Memorial stated that it considers Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh, who was arrested in Crimea, to be political prisoner and demanded his immediate release.
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