Vladimir Baluh

Imprisoned For The Right to Speech

We all know that people’s rights are one of the principles of modern world, its prominent value. That is freedom of speech and freedom of faith.

Before the annexation of Crimea and Russian military aggression against Ukraine we could believe that these principles are shared by all countries, which are the UN members.

But Russia has declined these principles so easily, trying to make Ukraine stay in the sphere of its influence. Nowadays, we can see everyday violations of basic human rights in occupied Crimea and in the particular territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are under control of Russian militaries.

The story of pro-Ukrainian activist Vladimir Baluh is just the great example of it. Russian officials blamed him for his Ukrainian citizenship and for hanging out the Ukrainian flag at his private land.

Russia justifies the aggression against Ukraine as the defense of Russian-speaking population in this country. It blames Ukraine for violation of these rights, but it can never grant Ukrainians in Crimea with the same rights!

Civilized people can hardly understand this logic, but the truth is that Ukrainian citizen V. Baluh is under arrest and stays in Russian jail just because of his political position. Russian Themis is truly blind! Russian official authorities, who misappropriated billions of dollars, can easily be grounded, while Ukrainian for hanging the Ukrainian flag in Crimea has already got 3 years and 7 months of prison.

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Even actual Russian law has no ban for hanging out flag of other state at the private territory. But Federal Security Service officials have found the way out, providing a search without witnesses in Baluh’s home which had great result. Gun cartridges were found and that was the reason to arrest Baluh and to sentence him to 3 years and 7 months due to Art. #222 of RF Criminal Code.

It is quite remarkable that Federal Security Service officers, who provided search in Baluh’s home, had no time to come to courtroom to be testified. They probably had enough reasons to skip court hearings, to be free of tough questions prepared by Baluh’s attorney. Nevertheless testimony of officers who provide search and carry out arrest is obligatory according to Russian law. So this situation discredits nature of the judicial process.

Maybe the wide international response caused such soft penalty for Baluh, but it proves that Russian authorities are afraid of Ukrainian flag in the Crimea, as it is the reminder that Crimea is Ukrainian territory. And repressions are the tools that Russia can use against the truth.

In his last plea, Baluh said that no matter of the verdict, he will never be ashamed of his children. His prosecutors can hardly say the same.

– William Turner

william_turner77@mail.com

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