“The United States remains concerned about Volodymyr Balukh, who is still on hunger strike and has reportedly been remanded to a ‘punishment cell.’ We are concerned by credible reports that four people died in April under suspicious circumstances in Simferopol’s Pre-Trial Detention Center #1, where Mr. Balukh is held, including two Crimean Tatars. Occupation authorities have purportedly concluded that all of these deaths were suicides. Given prior allegations of torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, poor conditions, and other abuses at this facility, we call on Russian occupation authorities to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into these deaths,” Kamian said at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna.
As reported, Volodymyr Balukh continues to be on hunger strike, which he declared on March 19.
The Federal Security Service of Russia detained Volodymyr Balukh on December 8, 2016. The FSB officers claimed that they had found 90 cartridges and several TNT blocks in the attic of his house.
March 14, the Kremlin-controlled Supreme Court of Crimea changed the verdict in the case of Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh. The court excluded the paragraph on purchase of ammunition from the verdict and sentenced the activist to 3 years and 5 months of imprisonment in a penal colony settlement and fined him about UAH 4,600.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry urges to immediately release Balukh and let Ukrainian doctors visit him.
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