US calls Russia to immediately allow Ukraine’s ombudsperson access to Sentsov, Balukh

The U.S. is appalled that Russia has not allowed Ukraine’s ombudsperson access to Ukrainian activist Oleh Sentsov and Volodymyr Balukh unjustly held by the Kremlin.

As reported by Censor.NET, this was said by Acting Deputy Chief of U.S. Mission to the OSCE Michele Siders as she was delivering speech to the organization's Permanent Council on Thursday, June 21.

"We are appalled that Russia has yet to allow Ukraine’s ombudsperson access to Ukrainian filmmaker and activist Oleh Sentsov, who is languishing in a prison in Russia on fabricated charges of terrorism," she said.

Siders recalled that Sentsov is in his 38th day of a hunger strike, advocating for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners unjustly held by the Kremlin for opposing Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

"We are also concerned about the condition of activist Volodymyr Balukh, currently on his 95th day of a hunger strike. Russian authorities should immediately allow Ukraine’s ombudsperson access to these prisoners, and release without further delay all those held unjustly," the U.S. diplomat stressed.

As reported, Sentsov is serving a sentence in the maximum security labor camp in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. This prison's inmates are serving sentences for commission of grave and especially grave crimes.

Sentsov was detained by the Russian FSB Security Service in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2014 together with activist Oleksandr Kolchenko. They were brought to Russia and tried in a trumped-up case on charges of organizing acts of terror and arson on the peninsula. On Aug. 25, 2015, Sentsov and Kolchenko were sentenced to 20 years and 10 years in prison respectively. On Oct. 21, 2016, Russia refused to extradite the two Ukrainians to Ukraine, claiming they had automatically acquired Russian citizenship after the annexation of Crimea.

Sentsov’s sister Natalia Kaplan said March 16, 2018 that her brother reported on his failing health in a letter. He in particular said that he is losing his hair and has his teeth crumbling into small pieces.

On May 14, 2018, the fillmmaker said he went on an indefinite hunger strike demanding to release all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia.

Ukrainian activist Volodymyr Balukh was detained by the FSB in Crimea in December 2016.

After 2014, he remained a citizen of Ukraine, having refused to obtain Russian citizenship.

He was accused of committing a crime under part 1, article 222 (illegal possession and carrying of firearms and ammunition) of Russia's Criminal Code.

On Jan 16, 2018, the so-called "Razdolnensky district court of Crimea" sentenced Balukh to 3 years and 7 months in the penal colony settlement and a fine of 10,000 rubles.

Balukh went on a hunger strike on March 19 in protest against his charges which he believes were trumped-up.

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3072859