100 days of Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike in Russia

During the 100-day hunger strike, the 42-year-old prisoner has lost about 30 kg, but he is still not going to ask president Putin for pardon.

Oleg Sentsov is experiencing liver and kidneys problems; a chronic heart disease has aggravated, he is suffering from anemia, numbness, his heart rate dropped to 40 beats per minute.

According to Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, his condition is ‘satisfactory’.

The Ukrainian film director, who demands that the Russian authorities release all Ukrainians jailed in Russia and Crimea, went on hunger strike on May, 14. There are 64 Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and Crimea.

In August 2015, a Russian court sentenced Oleg Sentsov to 20 years of imprisonment. He was found guilty of an ‘attempt to organize a ‘cell of Right Sector [Ukrainian right-wing organisation] in Crimea’. The trial was held in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, The case was considered by North Caucasus District Military Court. The film director did not admit his guilt.

“I’m not going to ask anything of you, everything is clear. The court of invaders cannot be fair by definition,” Sentsov said in his final statement in court.

The charge was based on the testimony of Alexey Chyrny and Gennady Afanasiev. In court Afanasiev withdrew evidence saying that he had been tortured in jail. It is impossible to swap Sentsov for any Russian prisoner in Ukraine, because after the annexation of Crimea Russia started considering the Ukrainian director a citizen of Russia.

A group of renowned Western actors and directors stood up for Oled Sentsov and asked the Russian authorities to release him. Andrzej Wajda, Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Wim Wenders and others are among the petitioners. Amnesty International and Russian human rights center Memorial recognised Sentsov prisoner of conscience. Since August 14, International PEN Center has been holding a letter-writing marathon to support Sentsov. Today these letters will be brought to Russian embassies in different countries.


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