9 Aug 2018 18:42

OSCE media freedom representative calls for freeing Sentsov

KYIV. Aug 9 (Interfax) - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir says that he is concerned about reports on the deterioration of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov's health and called for immediately freeing him from a Russian penitentiary.

"Very alarmed by the deteriorating health of Crimean writer/filmmaker #OlegSentsov, on hunger strike in a Russian prison. I repeat my call for his release. It is urgent now," Desir said on Twitter on Thursday.

The North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don ruled in August 2015 to sentence Sentsov, who was detained in Crimea in 2014, to 20 years in a high-security penitentiary for setting up a terrorist group there.

Sentsov declared a hunger strike on May 14, 2018 to demand that all Ukrainians held in Russia "on political motives" be freed.

Natalya Kaplan, Sentsov's cousin, said on Wednesday that he was continuing his hunger strike at the penitentiary and that his health status was catastrophic and he was almost not getting up. "Everything is not just bad, everything is catastrophically bad. Oleh has passed me a letter via a lawyer, he almost isn't getting up. He's written that the end is near, and he did not mean his liberation," Kaplan said on Facebook.

Afterward, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova asked her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova and Russian Presidential Human Rights Council Chairman Mikhail Fedotov to discuss any possible options of exchanging Sentsov in order to save his life.

Denisova referred to Sentsov's lawyer Dmitry Dinze as saying that Sentsov was through the third lingering crisis in the course of his hunger strike. He is occasionally drinking small portions of medical nutritional mixtures and water "so as not to faint and be able to control whatever can be done to him," Dinze said.

He also said Sentsov's weight dropped to 70 kilos.