February 8, an evening of solidarity with the Ukrainian activist Volodymir Balukh, convicted in the Russian-occupied Crimea, was held. The event was held in the Crimean House, QHA correspondent reports.
It was attended by Deputy Chairmen of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, the family of Volodymir Balukh, his lawyers Olga and Dmitry Dinze.
“Volodymir Balukh, despite the occupation regime, shows that he is a Ukrainian. In the Crimea, it is dangerous today. He was convicted only for his pro-Ukrainian position. This person deserves to be called a hero. He did not break down, despite the fact that he was convicted, then he was acquitted, but now he is awaiting consideration of a new criminal case," Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov said.
The Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Akhtem Chiygoz noted that solidarity measures with pro-Ukrainian activists who struggle against the occupation power in the Crimea should be held as often as possible.
"In prison you are fighting, perhaps with yourself. And you think: Does anyone care about your struggle? The fact that we have gathered today is a great motivation for its continuation. To ensure that the invaders' hands are short, we need to constantly make it clear that we will not forgive if something happens with Balukh. And this is very important," Akhtem Chiygoz stated.
As is known, the Russian FSB detained Volodymir Balukh on December 8, 2016. The FSB officials claimed that they had found 90 rounds of ammunition and several TNT blocks in the attic of his house.
However, Balukh’s lawyers and human rights activists believe that he was a victim of repression for his pro-Ukrainian position - because of the Ukrainian flag placed in his yard.
On August 4, 2017, the Crimean "court" sentenced Balukh to three years and seven months in prison. The activist did not admit his guilt. Crimean human rights activists called the case fabricated and filed two complaints to the European Court of Human Rights.
On October 2, the "court" quashed the verdict, but left Balukh under arrest.
On January 16, 2018, the Roszolnensky District Court, controlled by the Kremlin, sentenced Balukh to three years and seven months in prison, and a fine of 10,000 rubles (about 180 USD).