27 August 2019
UPDATE: August 25 2019 marked the fourth year that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been imprisoned in Russia at the Polar Bear prison colony No. 8 in Labytnangi.
PEN America has published a statement from the filmmaker on his recent NEPTUNE award win at the Solidarity of Arts Festival in Gdańsk, Poland.
Sentsov writes, “It’s easy to be a revolutionary when revolution has already won. And much more difficult when the oppressor is still strong and the chances to win are small… [but] It is impossible to lie to people forever. And this post-empire will also collapse, like all similar ones before it. This will happen not only under the weight of its own structural problems, but also because, inside it, there are people who disagree, who do not believe their state that is lying, and people who want only one thing: truth and freedom.”
Show your ongoing solidarity by sharing a message of support to: #SaveOlegSentsov
14 August 2018
UPDATE: The European Union has called on Russia to provide medical treatment to Oleg Sentsov, whose health is rapidly deteriorating after a three-month hunger strike in a Russian prison.
“We expect Russia to provide him with appropriate treatment in an institutionalised medical setting in line with the European Court of Human Rights interim measure of the past 25th of July,” EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said in a statement on 10 August.
“The European Union expects international human rights standards on the peninsula to be upheld and all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the Crimean peninsula to be released without delay.”
The original statement, entitled Freemuse calls on Russian authorities to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, was published on 29 May 2018 and appears below.
On 14 May 2018, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov went on an open-ended hunger strike to demand the release of 64 Ukrainians held in Russia and Crimea on political grounds, reported Human Rights Watch.
Sentsov, who was arrested in May 2014 after taking part in a protest in Crimea against Russia’s annexation of the region, was sentenced on questionable terrorism charges in August 2015 by a Russian military court and is serving a 20-year prison term, reported PEN International.
“Artists are increasingly being targeted for their political expressions, whether through their art or everyday actions. Regardless of how they choose to express themselves, it is their internationally, legally protected human right to be able to do so. Oleg Sentsov must be freed,” Dr Srirak Plipat, Freemuse Executive Director, said.
Artists have initiated a global campaign set for 1-2 June, two weeks before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia starting 14 June, demanding his release reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The Save Oleg Sentsov group is using the hashtag #SaveOlegSentsov online.
Russia has prosecuted 64 Ukrainians, including Sentsov, on a “politically motivated basis”, according to Egidijus Vareikis, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine.
Prison authorities said in a 28 May statement that the artist agreed to receive medical treatment, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
More from Freemuse
More from Freemuse
» 28 August 2015: Russia: Film director sentenced 20 years in prison
» 9 December 2014: Russia: Ukrainian film director detained seven months in Moscow