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Thread: Will he die before the World Cup?

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011


    Will he die before the World Cup?

    The family of Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian film director imprisoned in Russia who is on hunger strike, have called on President Vladimir Putin to release him before the World Cup, which kicks off on Thursday.

    “He says he’s going to carry his hunger strike through to the end, and Oleg is the kind of person who doesn’t go back on his word,” Sentsov’s cousin Natalia Kaplan told the Guardian.

    “We have very little time left and I really hope that Putin will take the decision to release him and all the Ukrainian political prisoners before the World Cup.”

    Sentsov has been on hunger strike since 14 May, saying he will stop only if all Ukrainian political prisoners are released. His lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, who visited Sentsov in prison last week, said his client had lost 8kg since he began his hunger strike and was at risk of kidney failure. Prison officials have said they will begin force-feeding Sentsov if his health deteriorates to a critical point.

    Sentsov was jailed for 20 years by a Russian military court in 2015 on charges of terrorism. He was accused of deliberately setting fire to the offices of United Russia, a pro-Kremlin political party, in Crimea. He denied all charges and said he was being punished for organising peaceful resistance to the Russian takeover of the peninsula in 2014.

    His trial was littered with irregularities, including the prosecutors dismissing bruises on Sentsov’s body as the result of sado-masochistic sex rather than torture during interrogation. One prosecution witness recanted his testimony, saying it had been extracted under torture. Amnesty International said at the time the proceedings were “redolent of Stalinist-era show trials”.

    During his trial, Sentsov said he would not beg for sentencing from a “court of occupiers”, and said he was not ready to give up his pro-Ukraine stance, even under torture. “I don’t know what your beliefs can possibly be worth if you are not ready to suffer or die for them,” he said at the time. Now he appears to be ready to follow through on these words.

    "Things could deteriorate at any moment but people say the 30th day is when it gets really dangerous,” said Dinze. “He said he’s completely determined to carry it through to the end.”

    Sentsov is being held in a prison meant for particularly dangerous criminals nicknamed “the Polar Bear”, in the isolated Arctic town of Labytnangi, thousands of miles from his home in Crimea. Previously, he was held even further away, in the north-eastern region of Yakutia.

    “I think his case was needed for propaganda purposes and to show people in Crimea what the result of opposition to annexation would be,” said Kaplan. “Now, he is being punished. He called Putin a ‘bloodthirsty dwarf’ in court and I think he is being punished for that.”

    Dinze said that during his interrogations, officers from the security agency FSB told Sentsov that if he did not confess he would be sent to a particularly harsh Arctic prison, and “they’re doing what they promised – he is there as a special punishment”.

    Ukrainian authorities are believed to have suggested various swap deals for Ukrainian prisoners in Russia, and it has also been floated that Sentsov could be swapped for the journalist Kirill Vyshinsky, who worked for Russian agency RIA Novosti in Ukraine and was arrested last month at his office on charges of treason.

    Leading international film directors, as well as rights organisations and politicians including the French president, Emmanuel Macron, have sent letters calling on Putin to release Sentsov or raised his case in meetings with the Russian president.

    Putin appeared to pour cold water on any suggestion of a swap during a televised phone-in session on Thursday. Sentsov was detained not for journalistic activities, but for plotting a terrorist act, preparing an explosion, which could have injured people. These are completely different things we’re talking about. They are different and incomparable,” said Putin.

    “The Ukrainians have offered various scenarios for his release, the question is whether Russia is ready. The president can pardon him at any time, but Putin’s words don’t leave much hope,” said Dinze.

    On Saturday, Putin spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, raising hopes that a last-minute deal could still be done before the World Cup.
    Oleg Sentsov's family ask Putin to free him before World Cup

    Sentsov in happier days, with wife Anna, who still lives in Crimea

    She divorced him in 2016, citing both their own matrimonial issues (they were indeed separated for awhile before his arrest) and the difficulties her status as an inmate's wife was creating for her and their two children, for example, she couldn't get approved for a mortgage for their home, which she needed, having previously spent much of their money helping Oleg fight his chrges in the courts.

    Oleg's mother, Lyudmila Sentsova, reading a book he wrote

    Sentsov, after his arrest by masked FSB agents in Crimea

    Speaking with his lawyer at his trial

    His arrest and trial shocked even some within Russia's own showbiz establishment.

    Singer Tatyana Konkova protests in support of Sentsov outside the gate of the Supreme Court in Moscow

    "Free Sentsov" poster in Kiev

    Guard on a watchtower at Polar Bear prison camp where Sentsov is being held now

    It always amuses me... Russia's most horrible prison camps are all named after cute critters: Polar Bear, Polar Owl, Black Dolphin, etc lol Not sure how that happened, exactly...

    Anyway, hope he'll be ok. He never engaged in any terrorism, just peaceful protest. Doesn't deserve this.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Jul 2014

    When will the WC be over?

  3. #3
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
    Jul 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by Miller47 View Post
    When will the WC be over?
    It will run Jun 14, 2018 – Jul 15, 2018.

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