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Ukrainian human rights activist reportedly held in Luhansk penal colony

by Rachel Amran December 6, 2023 1:28 AM 2 min read
Maksym Butkevych in pre-trial detention center-1 in Luhansk. (Photo: The Movement for Human Rights)
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Editor's note: The article's headline originally said that Butkevych had been seen in a Luhansk penal colony. It has since been corrected, as there have been no confirmed images of Butkevych in the colony. The Russian Federal Prison Service has claimed Butkevych is being held in the colony.

Ukrainian human rights activist and serviceman, Maksym Butkevych, is being held in a penal colony in Krasnyi Luch in Russian-occupied Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainian media outlet Graty reported on Dec. 5.

For the last four months, Butkevych's whereabouts were unknown, until lawyer Leonid Solovyov received a response from the Russian Federal Punishment Service regarding Butkevych's location.

Russian-appointed authorities in occupied Luhansk and Donetsk sentenced Butkevych to 13 years in prison in March 2023.

The de-facto courts upheld the sentence during an appeal hearing about five months later. Butkevych's family and legal team were unable to locate him after the hearing until today.

Butkevych is a well-known human rights activist and journalist specializing in the protection of refugees.

Before the war, he worked with a Ukrainian NGO supporting internally displaced persons. He decided to enlist in the Ukrainian military after the full-scale invasion.

He was eventually captured by Russian forces in the summer of 2022. A Russian-appointed court forced him to plead guilty to allegedly firing a grenade launcher at an apartment building.

According to Amnesty International, the decision to uphold the 13-year sentence was "a grave miscarriage of justice."

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