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European court urges Russia to treat Ukrainian hunger-striker


Actors and directors hold placards reading a hashtag “FreeSentsov” with an appeal to free Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, at the end of the premiere of the festival called “Class Act: East-West” in Kiev, on July 3, 2018.<br />The “Class Act” theatre project was born three decades ago in Scotland and has migrated to various countries. It first came to Ukraine in 2016. Twenty pupils aged 14 to 16 came to Kiev from Avdiivka, a government-controlled eastern town, and from the western town of Chop. In post-Soviet Ukraine, cultural differences persist between the Ukrainian-speaking west and the mainly Russian-speaking east. / AFP PHOTO / Genya SAVILOV

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday called on Russia to provide “appropriate treatment” to jailed Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov who has been on hunger strike for two months.

Arguably Russia’s most prominent prisoner, Sentsov launched his protest on May 14 in a bid to win the release of Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia.

He is serving a 20-year sentence in the far north of Russia after being convicted on terrorism charges over an alleged arson plot in Crimea.

“The Court decided to apply an interim measure and to indicate to the Russian government that Mr Sentsov should receive without delay, at a medical establishment, medical care adapted to his condition,” the ECHR said in a statement.

It also called on 42-year-old Sentsov to “put an end to his hunger strike and accept the vital care which would be offered”.

Sentsov’s lawyer had referred the case to the Strasbourg-based court on Tuesday.

The statement said the “emergency measures” for Sentsov “apply only in case of imminent risk of irreparable damage”.

Western governments led by French President Emmanuel Macron and celebrities including Pedro Almodovar, Johnny Depp and Stephen King have repeatedly urged the Kremlin to release Sentsov.

But Moscow has shown no sign of caving in to his demands and concern had been raised about whether Sentsov would make it out of his Russian prison alive.

The vocal Kremlin critic was detained in Crimea in 2014 after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.

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