25 Oct 2018 14:54

Poroshenko expects Sakharov Prize to accelerate Sentsov's release

KYIV. Oct 25 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has hailed the European Parliament's decision to give the Sakharov Prize to Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is incarcerated in Russia.

"I am grateful to the European Parliament for its important decision to give the prestigious Sakharov Prize to Ukraine's Oleh Sentsov. [...] I am sure that this decision of the European Parliament will accelerate the release of Oleh Sentsov," Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

Sentsov was detained in Crimea in 2014. In August 2015, he was sentenced to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary by the North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Sentsov went on hunger strike on May 14, 2018, demanding the release of all Ukrainians being held in Russia. Penitentiary doctors kept him alive with intravenous nourishment.

Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) Deputy Director Valery Maximenko told Interfax on October 5 that Sentsov was ending his hunger strike and agreed in writing to start eating.

Sentsov said he did so under the threat of force-feeding. The statement was posted by Sentsov's lawyer Dmitry Dinze. The filmmaker said the goal of his hunger strike was not achieved.