United States expresses concern over hunger strike of Sentsov, Klykh, Shumkov, Balukh

United States expresses concern over hunger strike of Sentsov, Klykh, Shumkov, Balukh

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Ukrinform
The United States is concerned about the growing number of prisoners in Russia on political and religious grounds and expressed concern over the hunger strike of Oleg Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov, and Volodymyr Balukh.

This is stated in an official statement by the U.S. Department of State, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the growing number of individuals – now more than 150 – identified by credible human rights organizations as political and religious prisoners held by the Government of the Russian Federation," the document reads.

"We are especially concerned about the welfare of four Ukrainians unjustly imprisoned who are currently on hunger strike—Oleh Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov, and Volodymyr Balukh. We are likewise troubled by the case of Oyub Titiyev, a human rights activist prosecuted on trumped-up drug charges in Chechnya, whose pre-trial detention was recently extended. In retaliation for peaceful religious practice, Russian authorities have detained Jehovah’s Witness Dennis Christensen without trial since May 2017. Five Church of Scientology leaders have also been subjected to detention without trial since June 2017, as well as over a dozen Muslim followers of Turkish theologian Said Nursi," the U.S. Department of State stressed.

The United States called on Russia to release all those identified as political or religious prisoners immediately and cease its use of the legal system to suppress dissent and peaceful religious practice.

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