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INSTITUTIONS Europe / Russia

European film professionals stand together for Oleh Sentsov


- The European Film Academy is urging action to be taken against the imprisonment of the Ukrainian filmmaker, who has been on a hunger strike since 13 May

European film professionals stand together for Oleh Sentsov
Director Oleh Sentsov in prison

As reported by his lawyer, Dimitri Dinze, 25 May was day 12 of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov's indefinite hunger strike, which he allegedly plans to continue until his death should his demands not be met.

Sentsov, who was involved in supporting the Euromaidan protests in Kiev and who opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol on 10 May 2014 and brought to Moscow, where he was detained and awaited trial for over a year. Although the key witness had retracted his testimony as being given “under duress”, the trial, based on the accusation of Oleh Sentsov having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature”, went ahead. The filmmaker was later sentenced to 20 years in prison, and at the end of what Amnesty International described as “an unfair trial in a military court”, in late November 2015, the Russian Supreme Court in Moscow confirmed this sentence, and Sentsov was moved to Yakutia.

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Since his case was made public, film professionals, organisations and institutions have stood together for his release. The European Film Academy (EFA) has led several campaigns to rectify the situation. Thousands of signatures supporting an EFA letter to the president of Russia and the Russian authorities were gathered from all across Europe, asking for Sentsov’s immediate release.

As his hunger strike continues, the EFA, with the support of film professionals and institutions, is asking everyone to keep demanding his release, by contacting their country's Foreign Minister, MP, MEP and Russian embassy, and asking them to do all they can to ensure this. Click here to access a template to use in order to do this, courtesy of the EFA.

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