Kremlin's political prisoners who went on hunger strike

Kremlin's political prisoners who went on hunger strike

About 70 Ukrainian political prisoners are being held in Russia and in Russian-occupied Crimea. Three of them declared a hunger strike.

Volodymyr Balukh is a Ukrainian activist, whom FSB agents detained on December 8 after a search in his home. On December 12, the Rozdolne district "court" of Crimea chose for him a preventive measure in the form of detention for a term of 30 days. Balukh is charged with "illegal possession of weapons, its main parts, ammunition" (Article 222, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The Crimean Human Rights Group pointed to clear political persecution of the Ukrainian activist and, according to human rights activists, the man became a victim of repression for his pro-Ukrainian position – due to Ukraine's flag in the courtyard of his house.

In August 2017, the Ukrainian activist was sentenced to three years and seven months of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony, and a fine was imposed on him. However, during the consideration of the appeal, the sentence was revoked and the case was submitted for repeated consideration. However, in January 2018, the court issued the same verdict – Balukh was again sentenced to three years and seven months of imprisonment in a settlement colony on charges of allegedly illegal storage of ammunition. Later, the court reduced the sentence by two months, excluding the count on the purchase of ammunition.

On March 19, Balukh declared an indefinite hunger strike because of disagreement with prosecution.

On July 5, the so-called "court" in Crimea sentenced Balukh to three years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony. The court found him guilty under Part 2, Article 321 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (disorganization of the activity of an institution ensuring isolation from society). Together with the previous criminal cases, this is five years of imprisonment in a medium-security penal colony and fined 10,000 rubles (about 4,600 hryvnias).

On July 13, the so-called Zaliznychny district "court" of Simferopol refused to release Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh on parole on the first sentence, under which he was jailed for three years and four months.

The Ukrainian political prisoner has been on hunger strike for 120 days. Lawyer Olga Dinze stressed that the Ukrainian activist had lost 30 kg of weight during the hunger strike. The prisoner himself repeatedly said he had been subjected to torture at Simferopol's detention center.

Oleg Sentsov is a Ukrainian film director, screenwriter, best known to the audience thanks to the movie "Gamer" (2012). The film took part in the amateur film festival in Rotterdam, in the competition program of the GoEast International Film Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany, and was also featured at the Molodist International Film Festival in Kyiv and the Minsk International Film Festival "Listopad." Sentsov had not finished his second movie "Rhino" - the Revolution of Dignity began in Ukraine. The filmmaker was an active AutoMaidan participant.

On May 11, 2014, Sentsov was detained by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation in Crimea. Later he was taken to Moscow, to a detention facility in Lefortovo. The film director was charged with terrorism and illegal possession of weapons. In the materials of the trumped-up case he was called the organizer of a subversive and terrorist group.

In August 2015, Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony. In February 2016, he was taken to Yakutia, and from November 2017, Oleg Sentsov began to serve his term in the White Bear penal colony in Labytnangi (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District).

On May 14, Sentsov went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners detained in Russia. He has already been on hunger strike for 66 days, and no one knows whether he is alive or not.

Emir-Usein Kuku is a Crimean human rights activist, a member of the Crimean Contact Group on Human Rights. Before his arrest, he was actively involved in human rights activities, providing legal assistance to the population and reporting cases of politically motivated violent disappearances in Crimea.

Kuku was detained on February 11, 2016 after a search in his house. He appears in the so-called "Hizb ut-Tahrir case." A criminal case was instituted against the human rights activist over his alleged involvement in the activities of the Hizb ut-Tahrir terrorist organization banned in Russia.

The Kuku case was originally considered at visiting sessions in Simferopol. However, in December 2017, he was taken from Crimea to Rostov-on-Don. On February 12, 2018, the court selected for Kuku a measure of restraint in the form of arrest until April 8. The trial is ongoing, and the Crimean political prisoner is currently in a detention center in the Rostov region.

On June 26, Kuku declared a hunger strike. The Ukrainian political prisoner has already been on hunger strike for 23 days. According to his lawyer, Edem Semedlyaev, Kuku lost nine kg of weight as of July 11.

Emir-Usein Kuku was on a hunger strike for 23 days. He stopped the hunger strike on July 19, 2018.

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