BIPARTISAN SUPPORT for Ukrainian filmmaker’s, Oleg Sentsov, release as hunger strike approached 40 days

Oleg Gennadyevich Sentsov: Ukrainian filmmaker and writer, native of Crimea, best known for his 2011 film Gamer. Following the Russian annexation of Crimea he was arrested in Crimea and convicted to 20 years in jail by Russian court on charges of plotting terrorism acts. The conviction was widely described as fabricated or exaggerated. On 14 May 2018, he went on an open-ended hunger strike protesting the incarceration of 65 Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and demanding their release. (Photo courtesy of Antonymon under CC BY-SA 4.0)



I am currently in the process of working up Sunday Announcements, which will post by end-of-day. Meanwhile, I share this encouraging news. 

In response to the release by two United States Senators—Roger Wicker (R-MI) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)—of their letter to the U.S. president calling on him to urge Vladimir Putin to release unjustly imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker and activist Oleg Sentsov, PEN America Washington Director Thomas O. Melia issued the following statement:

“We are heartened by this bipartisan expression of support for the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, 2017 recipient of the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write award. As Sentsov’s hunger strike goes into its 37th day, his health continues to deteriorate in his remote prison north of the Arctic Circle, where he is facing a twenty-year sentence on fabricated charges due to his peaceful opposition to the Russian annexation of his native region of Crimea. We urge President Trump to do as the senators request and call on President Putin to release Sentsov from jail immediately.”

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PEN America nonprofit logo courtesy of Mltellman under CC BY-SA 4.0

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. PEN champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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