LONDON, May 7. /TASS/. Soviet dissident and writer Vladimir Bukovsky, who faces abuse image charges in Great Britain where he lives, will stay in a medically induced coma for the next 72 hours as German medics fight for his life after an hours-long heart surgery, his close friend told TASS on Thursday.
"This hypocritical campaign to blacken his name with absurd poisonous accusations was launched at the very ‘proper’ moment, when Vladimir is physically incapable to protect himself," Pavel Stroilov said referring to a probe in which Bukovsky is charged with the making and possession of indecent images of children.
According to Stroilov, two heart valves were replaced during the heart surgery on the writer. Medics say the operation was successful, the patient is no longer in a critical condition, but his life is still in danger.
On April 27, Bukovsky, who lives in Cambridge, was charged with making and possessing indecent images of children. The Cambridge Magistrates’ Court adjourned the case until May 22.
On May 5, Bukovsky was due to appear in Court, but his lawyer said he had left the country for health reasons. He reportedly left Great Britain on April 29.
Maximum punishment for making indecent images of children is ten years in prison. However, in less grave cases it may be mitigated to a community sentence.
Bukovsky, 72, was a well-known activist of dissident movement in the Soviet Union in the 1960s-1970s. In 1972 he was sentenced to two years in prison and five years of exile for "anti-Soviet propaganda".
In 1976, the Soviet authorities exchanged Bukovsky for the general secretary of the Communist Party of Chile Luis Corvalan, serving a prison term in Chile. Since then, the former Soviet dissident has lived in Cambridge.