U.S. State Department calls on Russia to free Ukrainian political prisoners
The U.S. Department of State has called in Russia to release the illegally sentenced Ukrainian nationals, Oleh Sentsov, Stanislav Klykh, Oleksandr Shumkov and Volodymyr Balukh, that's according to a press statement by spokesperson Heater Nauert titled "Political and Religious Prisoners Held by the Russian Government."
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, according to Nauert.
"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," the spokesperson said.
"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," reads the statement.
The U.S. State Department calls 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."