A petition has been created to release Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov from unjust imprisonment by Russian courts. After more than a year of legal prosecution, Sentsov was sentenced earlier this summer to 20 years imprisonment on charges of terrorism and terrorist organizing. Sentsov has denied the court ruling and continues to plead not guilty. The trial was condemned by Amnesty International and other human rights’ groups as a farce. Furthermore, both the United States and the European Union have officially classified the ruling as unfair, referring to Sentsov not as a prisoner but as a Ukrainian hostage being held by the Russian military.
Sentsov, best known for his 2011 drama “Gaamer,” was arrested in 2014 while protesting the Russian annexation of Crimea. While Russian officials claim he was responsible for several acts of arson, the Ukrainian government asserts that Sentsov is being imprisoned for nothing more than being a pro-Ukrainian activist living in Crimea. Sentsov himself has said he was tortured in jail for more than 24 hours in an attempt to force a confession. Russian prosecutors claim his wounds are self-inflicted due to his preference for “sado-masochism.”
The petition already has more than 600 of the 1,000 necessary signatures. Some of Europe’s most distinguished directors have backed the petition, including Agnieszka Holland, Wim Wenders, Aki Kaurismäki and Andrzej Wajda. Sign the petition here to help free Sentsov from his unjust imprisonment.