Help us save Oleg Sentsov and other political prisoners!

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“He has gone on hunger strike as a last resort (...) I don’t know… how can he, with his heart condition? I think he’s perhaps being pushed over the edge”, – says Ludmila, the mother of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, when she found out about her son’s hunger strike.

Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Russian court, has gone on a hunger strike on 14th of May. He demands the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners kept in Russian prisons. A hunger strike is a cry for help that very few people would be go for. Please, sign our petition and help Oleg be heard.

Film director Oleg Sentsov and anti-fascism activist Alexander Kolchenko were arrested in Crimea on 11 May 2014. The case against them was fabricated on the basis of testimonies gathered from two other figurants through torture, and they were sentenced to 20 and 10 years - disproportionately to the unsubstantiated (unproven?) charges.  

Over the course of these four years, many famous film and theatre personalities demanded to release Oleg, with Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Alexander Sokurov, Liya Akhedzhakova, Pedro Almodovar among them. From time to time, we hear about “exchange lists”, negotiations in the framework of the Minsk Protocol, but nothing has changed: negotiation process does not work, there is no public information about any compromise reached. I the meantime nearly 70 Ukrainian political prisoners remain in Russian prisons. Neither Russian nor Ukrainian parties have appointed persons responsible to negotiate the return of prisoners. For all this time, Ukrainian citizens imprisoned in Russia are deprived of freedom and the right to criminal justice, subjected to torture and pressure, kept in unacceptable conditions, they lose their physical and psychological health, they are separated from their families and kids. Ukrainian councils are not allowed to meet with them, and they are not provided adequate medical help. Some of them are sentenced to an unfair period of up to 22 years. Some of them have been imprisoned for four years now - in the most terrible colonies in Russia – in Magadan, beyond the Arctic Circle, in Vladimir Central Prison and other places.

Oleg Sentsov is demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners, but not his own. His persistence and commitment to his principles makes us believe that he will go on till the very end, till he dies, should his demand not be fulfilled.

In this situation, we cannot remain silent and do nothing. We cannot let Oleg die in prison.

If Ukraine and Russia can not or do not want to compromise, we appeal to all the diplomatic missions and leaders of Europe, the US and Canada to take urgent measures and persuade Ukraine and the Russian Federation to exchange political prisoners.

We insist that such exchange happens as soon as possible.

We also call on everyone of you to appeal to ministries of foreign affairs and diplomatic institutions of your states in Russia and Ukraine and your politicians that participate in the dialogue between Ukraine and Russia. A rapid solution of this problem may save innocent lives!

Please sign this petition and help save Oleg Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners!

We also call on non-governmental organisations to sign this petition. If you want to sign this petition on behalf of your organisation, please email to yana.sng@gmail.com.

The petition was signed by: 
- Boris Nemtsov foundation
- Non-government organisation "Ventus", Kyrgyzstan



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