Oleg Sentsov was arrested following Russia's annexation of the Crimea. Photo: Wikipedia

The Ukrainian filmmaker who is locked up in Russian Arctic prison camp says health is dwindling

Supporters fear for Oleg Sentsov’s life as his health condition is deteriorating.
March 22, 2018

Sentsov, a writer and film maker from the Crimea, was arrested by the Russian Security Service in May 2014 and soon accused of conspiracies in terrorism. He has since been behind bars, the last year in Labytnangi, the Arctic town located near the mouth of great river Ob. He serves a 20 year long prison term.

The sister of Sentsov now voices concern about the health condition of the convict.

«I got a letter from Oleg. He greets everyone and assures that he is ok. However, at the same time he writes that his teeth are falling out and that he is losing hair. He makes clear that he slowly but irreversibly is losing his health.»

Sentsov’s sister, Nataliya Kaplan, shared the letter on Facebook, the Glastnost Defense Foundation informs.

Oleg Sentsov was detained few days after the Russian annexation of the Crimea. He has not admitted any guilt, but he is ready to request pardon if this will lead to his release, lawyer Dmitry Dinze says.

Dinze argues that Sentsov is a Ukrainian citizen and that he should be returned to Ukraine. The FSB, however, says that he became a citizen of Russia as soon as the Crimea was incorporated in the federation.


The FSB says the 42 year old man was among the organizers of an explosion by the Lenin statue in Simferopel and that he had put fire to the front door of the United Russia party office in that same city.

Labytnangi is located in the far northern Yamal Nenets Autonomous Okrug. It has a population of about 22 thousand, many of them are descendants of the Stalin-era prisoners who built the local railway.

A big number of prominent representatives of Russian and European culture, politics and civil society has raised their voiced in support of Oleg Sentsov. Among them is the EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini who in a statement in 2015 said the case «contradicts with basic standards of law» because «Russian judges do not have the right to make verdicts on actions conducted outside the borders of the internationally acknowledged borders of Russia».