Ukrainian political prisoner Volodymyr Balukh, who has recently been freed from Russian captivity in a prisoner swap, has said he was tortured immediately after arriving in the Russian colony.
"I was beaten in the colony. There were a lot of them, about 10 people, at least eight. I did not see exactly who was beating me. I was standing facing the wall... They were beating me in the legs, in the liver and kidneys. In the back of my head... I was facing the wall, I was in a stretched position till the awful physical pain," he said at a press conference on September 16.
According to Balukh, "severe physical violence" was used against him in Russia's Tver detention center.
"It was torture with threats of sexual abuse... followed by beating, a pillowcase put on the head, water torture, beating on all parts of the body, the use of an electric stunning device on the heels, on the legs, on the ears. And threats of sexual violence," he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, 24 Ukrainian POW sailors captured by Russian special forces near the Kerch Strait in November 2018, and 11 political prisoners were returned by Russia to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange on September 7. The political prisoners include Roman Sushchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Volodymyr Balukh, Stanislav Klykh, Mykola Karpyuk, Oleksiy Syzonovych, Pavlo Hryb, Edem Bekirov, Yevhen Panov, and Artur Panov.
Meanwhile, 35 people were transferred to Russia. All of them had been convicted or being tried on various charges.
Balukh, a Crimean farmer, was detained by Russia's FSB Federal Security Service on December 8, 2016. FSB operatives claimed they had allegedly found 90 ammunition rounds and several TNT explosives in his attic. On July 5, 2018, a Russian-controlled in Crimea sentenced him to five years in a penal colony and a RUB 10,000 fine. On October 3, 2018, the so-called "Supreme Court of Crimea" reviewed Balukh's original verdict and reduced his term to four years and 11 months.