The state of health of Ukrainian activist and Crimean farmer Volodymyr Balukh, who has been on hunger strike in a prison in Russian-annexed Crimea since March 19, has deteriorated.
"He has got very severe pain in the chest and subscapularis. Most likely, he's got nerve compression [syndrome]," his lawyer Olga Dinze has told the online edition Krym.Realii after visiting her client in Simferopol's detention center.
Balukh, who has been on hunger strike for 99 days, has decided not to go for a walk for health reasons, because "he simply could not physically do it," she said.
In addition, he could not attend court hearings on his application for parole, she added.
According to Dinze, Balukh continues the hunger strike in the declared format: he does not eat, he only drinks water. Also, the lawyer added that the activist had been transferred to a new cell. According to Balukh, "the ward is normal, there are no problems with other prisoners."
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Federal Security Service of Russia (FSB) detained Balukh on December 8, 2016. FSB operatives claimed that they had allegedly found 90 ammunition rounds and several TNT explosives in his attic. Balukh's defense and human rights activists assert that he is a victim of repression over his public pro-Ukrainian position.
On March 14, 2018, the Kremlin-controlled "Supreme Court of Crimea" reviewed Balukh's original verdict and sentenced him to three years and five months in a penal colony settlement and a RUR 10,000 fine.
A second case was opened against Balukh on the basis of claims by Valeriy Tkachenko, the head of a detention center in the village of Rozdolne. The latter said Balukh had allegedly attacked him, while the prisoner and his defense insisted that it was Tkachenko who had attacked the defendant.
On March 19, Balukh said he would go on hunger strike in response to the verdict.
The state of the prisoner's health deteriorated amid court hearings on June 15.
On June 22, the lawyer said his client had been drinking only water.
On June 25, a Russian-controlled court in Simferopol was to consider an appeal filed by Balukh's defense for parole, but respective hearings were rescheduled for July 5.