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Jailed Ukrainian Filmmaker Sentsov Said Near Death

Ukrainian ombudswoman says hunger-striking prisoner needs urgent hospital care.

10 August 2018

Three months after he began a hunger strike, Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian filmmaker who is serving 20 years in a Russian prison, could be near death.

 

Sentsov is in critical condition, his cousin, Nataliya Kaplan, wrote Wednesday on Facebook, the Kyiv Post reports.

 

Sentsov went on hunger strike in May to call attention to some 70 Ukrainian citizens he considers to be political prisoners in Russia, many of whom were jailed for their opposition to Russia’s takeover of Crimea and support for Ukrainian separatists.

 

Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 for terrorism offences after being found guilty of two arson attacks in Russian-controlled Crimea in 2014. He is serving the sentence in the far northern town of Labytnangi.

 

After visiting Sentsov on Tuesday, his lawyer, Dmitry Dinze said his client had lost 30 kilograms and his heart rate had slowed, the BBC says.

 

Ukrainian rights ombudswoman Ludmyla Denisova yesterday posted photographs of Sentsov on Facebook showing him standing, looking thin and drawn. Denisova said she received the photos from her Russian counterpart, Tatyana Moskalkova, who reported that Sentsov was "active, watches TV, reads books, writes from time to time," and that his condition was "satisfactory."

 

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service also stated that Sentsov’s health was satisfactory, although according to Kaplan, he is hardly able to get out of bed.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to bring up Sentsov’s case in a phone conversation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin today, Reuters reports.

 

Photo of Oleg Sentsov posted by Ludmyla Denisova on her Facebook page.

 

Ukrainian ombudswoman Denisova has asked Moskalkova to transfer Sentsov to Moscow for treatment, according to UNIAN. Denisova also said Moskalkova told her Sentsov was in a “stable condition” and had refused transfer to a hospital in Labytnangi.

 

 

  • Ukrainian national Oleksandr Kostenko was released from a Russian penal colony on 3 August after serving more than four years for allegedly attacking security personnel in Kyiv during the mass protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. Russian authorities said the fact that one of the police officers he allegedly injured had obtained Russian citizenship gave Russia jurisdiction to try him, RFE/RL reports.

 

  • The Russian Supreme Court will consider Ukrainian journalist Roman Sushchenko’s appeal against his 12-year sentence for espionage on 12 September, Ukrinform reports. Sushchenko is one of a number of Ukrainians to have faced spying or terrorism charges in Russia since the outbreak of the insurgency in eastern Ukraine more than four years ago.

 

  • According to Screen Daily, a film adaptation of Sentsov’s dystopian play, Numbers, is set for release in March 2019, citing Ukrainian producer Anna Palenchuk.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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