16 Oct 2018 17:57

Sentsov's health impaired - cousin

KYIV. Oct 16 (Interfax) - Oleh Sentsov is in a fragile state of health after ending his hunger strike in a penal colony and is not optimistic about his future, his cousin Natalya Kaplan said.

"He has now ended his hunger strike. He did so to avoid force-feeding. [...] He ended [his hunger strike] with very impaired health, all of his internal organs were affected quite seriously," Kaplan said at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

"Ending a hunger strike is quite a serious procedure, no one can say now whether Oleh will survive," she said.

His latest letters are very pessimistic, his cousin said. "He has made a will, he asks us not to leave his children, he does not believe he will be released. [...] Maybe he still believes in it, but he no longer expects it. [...] He is preparing to ensure that his work and children live on without him," Kaplan said.

She said she hopes he is released.

On October 6, he announced that he was ending his hunger strike over the threat of being force-fed.

In August 2015, the North Caucasus District Military Court sentenced Sentsov, arrested in Crimea in 2014, to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary for forming a terrorist group in Crimea.

Sentsov went on hunger strike on May 14, 2018, and demanded that all Ukrainians incarcerated in Russia be released.