Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov’s health has been deteriorating since he started his hunger strike on May 14, 2018. A native of Crimea, he is demanding the release of 65 Ukrainian political prisoners who are incarcerated in Russia.
After a three-month hunger strike, Sentsov lost 30kg. He is suffering from anaemia and he has a slow heartbeat, according to his lawyer Dmitry Dinze.
A person suffering from anaemia lacks oxygen because either his or her red blood cells level or haemoglobin level is lower than norman. Its most common cause is iron deficiency.
“Things aren’t just bad,” Sentsov’s cousin Natalya Kaplan said. “They’re catastrophically bad.”
On August 8, 2018, Kaplan took to Facebook to elaborate on Sentsov’s current condition. She revealed that he had refused to be brought to a civil hospital.
Sentsov was accused of plotting terrorist acts in Crimea and was arrested on May 11, 2014. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Rostov-on-Don, Russia on August 25, 2015 and is currently serving his term in Russia’s Prison Colony No. 8 in Labytnangi.
Supporters of Sentsov have been demanding for his release. The Ukrainian filmmaker was involved in supporting the Euro Maidan protests in Kiev and has opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
According to the supporters, three months of protests from the international cultural world against the treatment of Sentsov have passed without any results. They claim numerous appeals on all levels to Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities to release the Ukranian filmmaker and the voices of thousands of people on the streets in over 30 countries remain unheard.
Among the supporters of Sentsov is the European Film Academy (EFA). In a statement released on August 14, 2018, the EFA called for help from people around the world to help ask for the Ukrainian filmmaker’s release.
“Please join us in our call for his release,” the EFA stated. “Whether it’s a print article, an online text, a post or tweet or a fax to the Russian embassy in your country, let’s make sure that August 14 becomes known as Oleg Sentsov Day.”
As a filmmaker, Sentsov is best known for the 2011 film “Gamer.” It is about Lyoscha (Vladislav Zhuk), a teenage computer games player living with his mother (Zhanna Biryuk) in Simferopol, Crimea.
Here is a clip from the “Gamer” film by Sentsov: