The American PEN-center has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a demand to release Ukrainian movie maker Oleg Sentsov. The letter is also addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino as the press service of the organization reported.
'As Russia prepares to host the World Cup in the coming weeks, the eyes of the world will be on the country. In the spirit of this unifying global event, we, therefore, urge you to take this opportunity to make a powerful statement by releasing Oleg Sentsov immediately and unconditionally. His life depends on it', the letter said.
48 people, including writers Herta Müller, J. M. Coetzee, Salman Rushdie, Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, singer Patti Smith, composer Stephen Sondheim, actor Patrick Stewart and others signed the letter.
As it is known, Ukrainian movie director Oleg Sentsov and Crimean activist Oleksandr Kolchenko were detained by the Russian FSB in the annexed Crimea. Both were taken to Russia. Sentsov was charged with preparing a terrorist act in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in the high-security penal colony. Kolchenko was sentenced to ten-years-long imprisonment.
Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov has announced a hunger strike on May 14. This way, he demands that all Ukrainians detained in Russia and annexed Crimea be released. Sentsov said he was ready to die if the requirements were not fulfilled.
The relatives of Sentsov note the deterioration of his health. According to the sister, he gets injections of glucose in the amount of one liter daily. Russian moviemaker Askold Kurov noted that the Ukrainian political prisoner feels good.
June 1-2, international campaign #SaveOlegSentsov to be held in different cities around the world. The organizers say that these days they "will give a red card to the regime of Putin," who illegally keeps people behind the bars.
Vice Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Gerashchenko claimed that Kyiv is ready to pass 23 Russians convicted in Ukraine for the exchange of Sentsov and other Ukrainians.