Over 100 Western filmmakers on Monday called on Russia to free illegally convicted Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike in a Russian penal colony since May 14, 2018.

Read alsoRussia's prison watchdog says it spent US$1,350 on Sentsov in three months of hunger strike

About 120 actors and directors, joined by French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, warned to do nothing would be to let Sentsov die and called on the EU and UN to put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an open letter in French daily Le Monde.

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In their letter, the authors compare Sentsov with Soviet dissidents, such as writers Vasily Grossman and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who were persecuted for their ideas.

UNIAN memo. Sentsov was arrested in Russian-occupied Crimea in spring 2014 and in August 2015 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison following an unfair trial where he faced "terrorism" charges stemming from his opposition to Russia's occupation of Crimea. He has been serving his term in a penal colony in the town of Labytnangi, Russia's Yamal. Sentsov began his hunger strike on May 14, 2018, in protest against the politically motivated jailing of dozens of Ukrainians in the Russian Federation.