Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (27 July) on the decision taken by the European Court of Human Rights on 25 July regarding a medical care interim measure for the director Oleh Sentsov, who is currently imprisoned in Russia.
The fact that the European Court of Human Rights has called on Russia to immediately provide Oleh Sentsov with the medical treatment he requires underscores the general concern there is for his current state of health, and even for his life. This concern has further intensified since he entered into a hunger strike in May.
I very much hope that the Russian Government will take urgent action based on this decision and will make sure that he has full access to medical treatment. Moreover, I hope Mr Sentsov will be released soon, along with his fellow prisoner Mr Kolchenko.
Oleh Sentsov, one of the most prominent critics of the illegal annexation of Crimea, was arrested at his home in Simferopol (Crimea) on 10 May 2014. On 25 August 2015, Sentsov was sentenced to twenty years in a harsh regime prison camp on charges of organising “terrorist attacks” in Crimea. His codefendant Olexandr Kolchenko was sentenced to ten years. Sentsov has taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming, among other things, that he has been subjected to torture and ill treatment. On 14 May, Sentsow went on hunger strike. The European Court of Human Rights issued an urgent decision on 25 July, calling on Russia to provide him with appropriate medical treatment.
The Federal Government has repeatedly criticised, also in high-level talks, the imprisonment and sentencing of Sentsov and Kolchenko, and it has campaigned for their release.