Human Rights

Court of occupied Crimea extended the arrest of Balukh for additional 3 months

Court of occupied Crimea extended the arrest of Balukh for additional 3 months

On May 23, the Razdolnensky District Court of the occupied Crimea extended the arrest of Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh until September 4.

Volodymyr Balukh

As reported by reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre.

According to one of Balukh’s lawyers Volodymyr Dinze, gravest procedural violation was committed during the consideration in the matter of extending the measure of restraint – the judge took her own initiative in the matter of extending the measure of restraint and she has no right to do so in accordance with the legislation.

As explained by Dinze, the need to extend the measure of restraint should be determined by the prosecution. And it also has the duty to justify such a necessity to the court. However, the prosecutor has not proposed such initiative in the court and the court, in fact, took on the prosecution tasks.

At the same time, the prosecutor repeated the same phrase twice during the entire hearing – that there are no grounds for changing the preventive measure for Balukh. No further arguments or motions were presented by the prosecution.

 Lawyers also drew the court's attention to the requirements of the law concerning "proving" the need for further detention of the activist, which the prosecutor's office ignored.

In addition, Dinze noted that the case bears “contract” signs, since no versions were developed except for Balukh’s involvement to the ammunition. The lawyer considers that law enforcers are prosecuting the activist for his pro-Ukrainian position.

Volodymyr Balukh himself called the court hearing as a joke trial, suggested for the judge and the prosecutor to wear a veil, so that their hypocrisy would not be so noticeable and declared that they would never be able to break his spirit.

After the court hearing, which lasted for more than an hour, Judge Maria Bedritskaya read out her decision, according to which the Ukrainian activist must remain in custody for another 3 months.

According to the court’s decision, one of the grounds for keeping Balukh in the SIZO (pre-trial detention center) is the fact that he is a citizen of Ukraine.

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.