Whereabouts of Ukrainian journalist Maksym Butkevych, imprisoned by Russia, unknown after reported transfer


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The whereabouts of Ukrainian journalist, human rights activist and soldier Maksym Butkevych, who is imprisoned by Russia, are currently unknown after he was reportedly transferred and is unreachable by his family or lawyers.


“All letters and packages, sent by friends, have been returned back and signed:“No correspondence allowed,” said  Tetyana Troshchynska, the editor-in-chief of Hromadske Radio, in a Facebook post (text in Ukrainian)


Butkevych, a human rights activist, journalist, and co-founder of the Hromadske Radio NGO, has been in captivity since August. He has dedicated roughly a decade to human rights work, serving as a member of the board of Amnesty International Ukraine and on the public council at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.


Up until the recent escalation of the conflict, Butkevych served as the coordinator for the No Borders project, which focused on assisting asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Ukraine, and actively worked to combat hate speech. Additionally, he was in charge of deploying the REAct system—a tool for monitoring and responding swiftly to human rights violations in Ukraine under the auspices of the Alliance for Public Health. Over the years, he has also been a key moderator for screenings and discussions at the international human rights documentary film festival, Docudays UA.


Following the start of the full-scale invasion, Butkevych suspended his work assisting refugees and his involvement in journalism, humanitarian efforts, educational initiatives, and human rights activities to enlist in the Ukrainian army.


. On June 24, Russian forces seized control of the village of Hirske community within the Luhansk Oblast and Russian media released a video claiming his capture, alongside other military personnel. Reports emerged in March 2023 that the entity known as the “Supreme Court” of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic” sentenced Butkevych to a 13-year prison term. Subsequently, in August, the First Court of Appeal of General Jurisdiction in Moscow confirmed this sentence.


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Main image: movement “For Human Rights”