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Sentsov's sister gets Sakharov Prize for her brother

The Ukrainian movie director could not make it to Strasbourg due to the illegal detention in Russian prison
14:41, 12 December 2018

Oleg Sentsov’s sister Nataliya Kaplan received Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for him. Here is the broadcast of the rewarding in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Before the awards ceremony, Kaplan told the story of Sentsov’s detention and arrest, and prosecution in Russia. Then, she read the appeal of the Ukrainian movie director.

Related: Ukrainian diplomat, Sentsov's sister appear near shooting scene in Strasbourg

It should be noted that there was an empty chair in the hall of the EP, which was set for Oleg Sentsov. Earlier, Rikard Jozwiak, Radio Liberty correspondent, noted that it was a big question whether Sentsov could be present at the ceremony on December 12; his relative would take it for him or there would be an empty chair.

Sentsov's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
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Sentsov has been imprisoned in Russia since opposing Moscow's takeover of his native Crimea in 2014. He was sentenced to two decades in a Russian prison after being convicted of 'conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks in Crimea'.

Related: Rally in support of Oleg Sentsov held near EU office in Kyiv

Oleg Sentsov announced a hunger strike in May 2018, demanding to release him and the rest of Ukrainian political prisoners illegally held by the Kremlin. Sentsov has already survived four health crises.

Oleg Sentsov stopped the hunger strike on the 144th day. The Russian side officially announced the statement by Sentsov but did not revea the reason. According to the lawyer of Sentsov, the decision to end the hunger strike was made after Russian doctors and penitentiary facility workers issued an ultimatum to Sentsov, suggesting that he either voluntarily stops the hunger strike or agrees to be force-fed.

Related: Sentsov's cousin thanks EP on his behalf

Later, Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov was awarded Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The decision was announced by the European Parliament on October 25. It is supposed that the official ceremony is to be held in Strasbourg on December 12.

The other two finalists for this year's prize were Moroccan activist Nasser Zefzafi and a group of 11 migrant rescue organizations.

The EU's legislature established the prize in 1988. The first laureate was South Africa's Nelson Mandela.

Related: Ukraine asks Russia to immediately report on Sentsov’s condition

In recent years, the awards went to the Venezuelan opposition, two survivors of sexual slavery by the Islamic State and the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

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