Ukrainian Political Prisoner Oleg Sentsov Ends Hunger Strike
5 October, 2018

Ukrainian political prisoner, filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence on fabricated terrorism charges in Russia, has reportedly ended his hunger strike after almost five months.

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

According to Russia’s Chairman of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights Mikhail Fedotov, Sentsov wrote a statement on ending his hunger hunger strike in the presence of lawyers. Fedotov said this was reported to him by the Federal Penitentiary Service on the morning of October 5, Russian Interfax reports.

He added that Sentsov’s fight for his rights is a “holy cause” but “not entirely necessary to put his life and health at risk for.”

READ MORE: Prison Employees Beg Sentsov to Stop Hunger Strike

The official website for the Federal Penitentiary Service in Yamalo-Nenets, where Sentsov is currently detained, also reported that the filmmaker had agreed in writing to start eating at 11:48 a.m.

“The convicted has agreed in writing to accept food. We have consulted with the best dietitians in Moscow to develop the most optimal meal plan for him. The meal plan covers all the necessary food, which will allow Oleg Sentsov to come out of a state of refusing full meals without any complications,” the penitentiary service reports.

However, Ukrainian Ombudsperson Lyudmila Denisova has expressed concern over what ending the hunger strike implies.

READ MORE: How Russia is Tormenting Political Prisoners Sentsov and Kolchenko

“Oleg Sentsov has stopped hunger striking. This means that he is in critical condition, practically beyond the limit. The Russian Federation has only verbally, without medical evidence, asserted that his state of health is satisfactory,” Denisova wrote on Facebook.

Denisova adds that the process of ending a hunger strike is “more complicated and worrisome than the hunger strike itself.”

“I am deeply convinced that the Russian Federation is not providing him with the proper medical support because I had previously demanded that highly qualified specialists be sent to see him, but the Kremlin did not do this,” Denisova wrote.  

Denisova has also demanded to see evidence of his state of health and even stated that specialist dietitians could be sent from Ukraine or Europe to help him transition out of the hunger strike.

Denisova says she is prepared to go to the prison colony in Labytnangi, where Sentsov is being held, and insists on expedited admission to the prison to see him.

/By Sofia Fedeczko