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Dear friends,

Please read this. It's long but very important. A couple of days ago a friend of ours and a Ukrainian filmmaker (whose name we are withholding for his own safety) posted a dramatic appeal for help and support for his 6 friends from the Kiev Film School who had been unlawfully arrested by Ukrainian militia. Below is the information he sent us:

"On the night of 19th/20th of January, the boys (aged between 19-26) were surrounded by 6 cars, beaten up by about 20 policemen and taken into custody. They were threatened and denied legal representation and medical help. No evidence has been presented against them and for hours after the arrest, no one knew what happened to them. The official search for them commenced, though it was only after the involvement of MPs and journalists, was it announced the boys had been detained.

The boys were charged with extremism, organising civil unrest on one of the streets in Kiev and beating up the policemen during their arrest, whilst all they had in reality done was participate in a peaceful protest against the current political situation in Ukraine. For this they are facing 8 to 15 years in prison.

They are Sound, Cinematography, Acting and Directing students who like us were just starting their careers, but because of the political circumstances their country finds itself in, their whole lives could now take a very dramatic turn. Their families are shattered and helpless."

The students of the Lodz Film School have issued an official letter to express solidarity with the Ukrainian students and to let the Ukrainian authorities know that their actions are being watched by the public. Here is an international version of this letter to increase its impact. The appeal will also be sent to other film schools in the world.

Imagine that you were unlawfully arrested and charged and how incredibly important it would be for someone to do something about it. Please sign with your name and institution you are affiliated with and pass the word forward.

More information on the current situation in Ukraine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euromaidan 

 

Letter to
Ministry of Justice of Ukraine
Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
We, the undersigned representatives of artistic and academic communities and others deeply concerned with the fate of six arrested students from the I. Karpenko-Kary University of Theatre, Cinema and Television in Kiev, with this letter wish to express our solidarity with Oleksander Szkrabak, Andrij Kotlar, Jurij Chrobust, Danyl Okulow, Wadym Kowalow and Andrij Iwaniuk.

According to our information, the above mentioned students were detained by the militia on the night of 19th to 20th of January in Kiev. Unclear circumstances of their arrest and the lack of presented evidence against them, fill us with great worry and we find the preventive measures used excessively radical.

We wish to remind the Ukrainian authorities about the obligations incumbent on them under international law – including the United Nations Convention against Torture and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We observe their actions and we will in the future appeal for each case of the human rights violation against these students to be investigated and litigated. No one has the right to use force to impose their own ideology and beliefs upon others.

We strongly condemn any acts of violence and call for respecting the students' rights and dignity, at the same time appealing for a fair trial and publication of any evidence held against them.