Russia denies Amnesty International access to imprisoned filmmaker Sentsov
The international human rights organization Amnesty International did not receive permission to meet with Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who is currently in a Russian prison colony, as reported by the organization’s press office.
On July 30 the Amnesty International office in Moscow received a letter from Deputy Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service Valery Balan which denied the human rights organization’s request to visit Sentsov in the penal colony in Labytnangi, but there was no explanation provided. The letter noted that Sentsov’s health had been assessed as stable, without “any negative indicators.”
“To refuse us the right to visit Oleg Sentsov is completely unjustifiable. After an almost three-month hunger strike, there are serious health concerns. We planned to visit Oleg accompanied by an independent medical expert, who would be able to evaluate the condition of his health. In order to dispel all doubts concerning Oleg’s health condition and to ensure he is receiving adequate medical care, such a visit is absolutely necessary,” according to Oksana Pokalchuk, head of the Ukrainian branch of Amnesty International.
Amnesty International has called for Sentsov’s immediate release and access to quality medical care. Earlier this week, Russia also denied visitation rights to a priest of the Apostolic Orthodox Church. Sentsov is currently imprisoned in a penal colony in the city if Labytnangi in the north of Russia. On May 14, he declared a perpetual hunger-strike with the demand for release of all Ukrainian political-prisoners in Russia and Crimea.