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Hunger-striking Crimean jailed for Ukrainian flag ready to write last will – Ukraine’s ombudsperson

Volodymyr Balukh, a Ukrainian political prisoner convicted to five years in prison for displaying a Ukrainian flag in occupied Crimea and sent to Russia to serve the term.
Volodymyr Balukh, a Ukrainian political prisoner convicted to five years in prison for displaying a Ukrainian flag in occupied Crimea and sent to Russia to serve the term.
Hunger-striking Crimean jailed for Ukrainian flag ready to write last will – Ukraine’s ombudsperson
Translated by: Christine Chraibi

Sentenced by a Russian-controlled court in Crimea, Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh is ready to write his last will and testament, said the Commissioner for Human Rights of Ukraine Liudmyla Denisova.

“Volodymyr Balukh has asked for a notary public. Like Sentsov, he feels that he’s near death and wants to write his last will and testament.

Five days have passed since he was brutally beaten [on September 13]… he feels severe pain in the kidneys, liver, head and heart. Sometimes the pain is so strong that he suffers from vomiting reflexes. Yes, five days, but no doctors have examined him. He knows that these are not empty threats and fears that he will not reach the penal colony alive.” wrote Denisova in Facebook.

Denisova reported that she had two “specific demands” for her Russian counterpart Tatiana Moskalkova: to provide Balukh with qualified medical assistance and to arrange a meeting with the prisoner.

Previously, Denisova had also asked the Russian authorities to admit her to the Simferopol prison for a meeting with Volodymyr Balukh.

Volodymyr Balukh continues his hunger strike, which he announced on March 19, 2018. He refused to accept any meals for a month until Crimean Archbishop Kliment of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyiv Patriarchate persuaded Balukh to eat the bare minimum – two plates of oatmeal, 50-70 grams of dark rye toast and tea with honey.

On July 5, the Russian-controlled Razdolnensky District Court in Crimea sentenced Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh to five-years in a prison colony and a fine of 10,000 rubles (about $150 US).

The Federal Security Service of Russia arrested Balukh on December 8, 2016. FSB officers claimed that they had found 90 rounds of ammunition and several TNT blocks in the attic of his house. Balukh’s lawyers and human rights activists say that he was arrested for his pro-Ukrainian position – a Ukrainian flag that Balukh had raised in his courtyard.

Translated by: Christine Chraibi
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