Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who is currently imprisoned in Russia on fabricated terrorism charges, has confirmed that he is ending his hunger strike in an open letter passed on through his lawyer Dmitry Dinze, Novaya Gazeta reports.
The filmmaker states in the letter that he is being forced to end the hunger strike as a result of his deteriorating health, which is now in critical condition.
In late September the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia published a photo of Sentsov undergoing a medical examination at a state hospital in Labytnangi. Photo credit: Russian Federal Penitentiary Service
“In connection with the critical state of my health, as well as complications with my internal organs starting to set in, I am scheduled to be force-fed in the near future. My opinion is no longer being taken into account. Allegedly, I am no longer able to adequately assess my level of health and the dangers threatening it,” Sentsov writes.
Sentsov has been on hunger strike since May 14, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. In the letter, he also apologizes for the fact his “goal” was not achieved.
“145 days of fighting, minus 20 kilograms in weight, plus a broken body, but the goal was not achieved. I am grateful to everyone who supported me, and ask for forgiveness from those whom I have failed…”
Sentsov says his hunger strike will end on October 6.
The filmmaker also wrote a letter to his cousin Nataliya Kaplan, in which he gave more details about the state of his health.
“The last examination showed that my internal organs had ‘gone.’ I have an arrhythmia starting in my heart, with ischemia, my kidneys are clogged and could give in at any moment. My liver has swollen and is starting to break down, my intestines, brain – everything,” the letter to Kaplan reads.
He adds, “It’s a pity I have to concede, but I’ve been left with no choice, I don’t want to turn this all into an embarrassing spectacle…”
In an interview with Meduza, Sentsov’s lawyer Dmitry Dinze explained how his client was given the choice of either ending the hunger strike himself, or he would be taken to an intensive care unit where a tube would be inserted in order to force-feed him.
“They said they would make him a vegetable. A vegetable. That means he’d just lie there in bed with a tube in his nose or mouth,” Dinze told Meduza, adding that the prison authorities say his hunger strike had “reached the point of no return” and that it’s uncertain how – and if – Sentsov will recover from it.