Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is serving a 20-year sentence in Russia on a terrorism conviction, has reportedly ended his hunger strike after 145 days.
The update was given Friday morning by Valery Maksimenko, deputy director of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN).
“Yes, he stopped his hunger strike,” Maksimenko was quoted as saying by Ukrainian news service Interfax. “Moscow’s best nutritionists have prepared a special diet for him to come out of the hunger strike. Our doctors, our specialists persuaded him, and he chose life.” There has been no word yet from Sentsov’s lawyer.
The dissident’s condition had inevitably been worsening at the high-security prison camp in the remote Arctic Circle. He was moved there in September after being sentenced in 2015 during a controversial trial. Sentsov, whose 2011 feature Gamer played at a handful of international festivals, was involved in supporting the 2014 Euromaidan protests in Kiev and opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
He went on hunger strike in May, demanding that all Ukrainian political prisoners currently serving their sentences in Russia be released. His protest has fallen on deaf ears among the Russian authorities but has galvanized international support in the film community and beyond. Among those to express support for the filmmaker have been Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Wim Wenders, William Friedkin, Johnny Depp and Isabelle Huppert.