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PACE calls for the release of human rights advocate Maksym Butkevych from Russian captivity

25.05.2023, 13:54
Photo: Maksym Butkevych on Facebook
Photo: Maksym Butkevych on Facebook

Over 20 deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called for the immediate release of Maksym Butkevych, a prisoner of war and human rights advocate unlawfully convicted by Russia.

The corresponding declaration has been posted on the PACE website, dated May 5.

"We show global solidarity with Maksym Butkevych, a case of another dramatic embodiment of the invaders’ lawlessness and we call for his exchange and immediate release," the declaration reads.

Deputies note that the occupiers sentenced Maxim to thirteen years in a high-security prison "crimes committed in a place where he couldn't have possibly been."

As IMI reported, on March 10, the Investigative Committee of Russia announced the "sentences" issued by ORDLO "courts" to three Ukrainian POWs: Maksym Butkevych (13 years in prison), Viktor Pokhoziy (8,5 years) and Vladyslav Shelya (18,5 years).

The men were convicted for "of abusing the civilian population and using prohibited methods in an armed conflict (Part 1 of Article 356 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)."

The Ukraine 5AM Coalition condemned the "sentences" issued by the "courts" of ORDLO to three Ukrainian POWs, including human rights activist Maksym Butkevych.

The "Ukrane 5AM" coalition began on February 25, 2022 – the day after the new stage of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine started. As of now, the coalition has 31 members – Ukrainian and international public organizations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also called on the international community to condemn the sentence issued to POW, human rights advocate Butkevych.

On March 13, human rights advocates, media workers, volunteers and activists called for the release of Maksym Butkevych, a prisoner of war illegally convicted by the occupiers.

In June 2022, human rights activist, journalist, and co-founder of ZMINA human rights center and NGO "Hromadske Radio" Maksym Butkevych has been taken prisoner by the Russians near ​​the captured Zolote and Hirske villages in Luhansk oblast. Russian propagandists announced the capture of Butkevych on June 24, publishing a video of his interrogation.

In September 2022, the Ministry of Defense of Russia confirmed holding human rights activist and Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier Maksym Butkevych as prisoner. He is currently in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk oblast.

Maksym Butkevych is a Ukrainian human rights activist and journalist. Coordinator and co-founder of the "Without Borders" project, aimed at helping asylum seekers and Ukrainian immigrants and countering hate speech. Co-founder of ZMINA human rights center and Hromadske Radio. Previously, he worked for the BBC World Service and a number of all-Ukrainian TV channels, has been a guest lecturer at NaUKMA for several years, and was also a board member of Amnesty International's Ukrainian representative office and the community council under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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