The United States has called on the Russian Federation to free illegally convicted Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov and other political prisoners from Ukraine.
"Oleh Sentsov will soon be recognized in Strasbourg as the recipient of the 2018 Sakharov Prize. It's not too late for Russia to do the right thing: Release Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners immediately. Sentsov should receive his prize in person. #FreeOlegSentsov," the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Twitter on December 6.
As UNIAN reported earlier, 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, demanding that Russia free all Ukrainian political prisoners. In early October, Sentsov announced he had to end his hunger strike due to the deterioration of his health and threats of forced feeding.
Moscow-based journalist Natalya Kaplan, a cousin of Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, confirmed that she together with lawyer Dmitry Dinze would visit Strasbourg on December 12 to take part in in the award ceremony.