Freedom of speech is not a crime. #FreeSentsov at Berlinale

Action of solidarity with Oleg Sentsov at Berlinale. Phot.

Activists and cultural professionals, including Polish director Agnieszka Holland, the team of the film Mr. Jones, Festival Director Dieter Kosslick, the European Film Awards, and Amnesty Internationa, expressed support of Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleg Sentsov at Berlinale – Berlin International Film Festival.

Before the premiere, a flash mob in support of Ukrainian political prisoners, including Oleg Sentsov, was held, Ukrainian Culture Minister Yevhen Nyshchuk said on Facebook.

The supporters were on the red carpet holding portraits of Sentsov and posters with inscriptions ‘#FreeSentsov’ and ‘Freedom of speech is not a crime’.

On February 10, there was a press conference devoted to Mr. Jones. The film’s team told not only about Welsh reporter Gareth Jones’s story but also about the modern world’s problems.

Прямо перед початком прем‘єрного показу фільму Гарет Джонс у основній конкурсній програмі Berlinale – Berlin…

Publiée par Євген Нищук sur Dimanche 10 février 2019

In August 2015, a Russian court sentenced Oleg Sentsov to 20 years of imprisonment. He was found guilty of an “attempt to organize a ‘cell of Right Sector [Ukrainian right-wing organisation] in Crimea”. The trial was held in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, The case was considered by North Caucasus District Military Court. The film director did not admit his guilt.

The charge was based on the testimony of Alexey Chyrny and Gennady Afanasiev. In court Afanasiev withdrew evidence saying that he had been tortured in jail. It is impossible to swap Sentsov for any Russian prisoner in Ukraine, because after the annexation of Crimea Russia started considering the Ukrainian director a citizen of Russia.

Sentsov, who demands that the Russian authorities release more than 60 Ukrainians jailed in Russia and Crimea, went on hunger strike on May, 14. The 42-year-old prisoner who has never asked president Vladimir Putin for pardon. He stopped his 145-day hungerstrike in early October. He is experiencing serious health complications in the Russian penal colony.

In 2018, Oleg Sentsov was declared winner of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

‘Irreversible consequences’. Oleg Sentsov lands up in intensive care

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