Maksym Butkevych, a Ukrainian human rights defender, has been given a lengthy prison sentence for a crime he could not have committed, in a sham trial by the so-called supreme court in Russian-occupied Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. This decision must be quashed. Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war a fair trial is a war crime and those responsible must be brought to account.
What’s the problem?
Maksym Butkevych is a prominent human rights activist. Before the war, he led a Ukrainian NGO helping refugees find protection in Ukraine.
Maksym volunteered for the Ukrainian armed forces on the first day of the Russia’s full-scale invasion and was put in charge of a platoon. At the front line, his unit was captured by Russian forces.
Since then, Maksym has been heavily smeared by the Russian media and apparently forced to confess to war crimes he could not have committed. He has not been allowed access to his lawyer or contact with the outside world.
Maksym was brought before the so-called supreme court in Russian-occupied Luhansk and charged with crimes he could not have committed. This sham trial resulted in a decision to imprison Maksym for thirteen years. This is an apparent reprisal by Russia for his civic activism and his prominent human rights work.
Those responsible for wilfully depriving prisoner of war Maksym Butkevych of a fair trial have committed a war crime. They must be brought to account.
Read more about Maksym’s case here.
What you can do to help
Demand that Russian authorities quash the decision to imprison Maksym Butkevych. They must respect international humanitarian and human rights law, including for Ukrainian prisoners of war captured during Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.