Director Oleg Sentsov In “Severe Danger” On Day 54 Of Hunger Strike; Filmmakers Call For Putin To Show “Human Face”


Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is in “severe danger” in the eighth week of his hunger strike, according to the European Film Academy.

On day 54 of his indefinite hunger strike, the European film network has again called for his immediate release. At their annual meeting during the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival they drafted a letter calling on President Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities to “finally show a human face.”

According to Ukrainian news service Kyiv Post, Sentsov’s lawyer Dmitry Dinze described his condition this week as “relatively stable.” He is said to be surviving on “vitamins and glucose” but a “crisis could begin at any time.”

Human rights organizations and filmmakers and artists from Europe and the U.S. have raised their voices in support since the director and father of two children started his hunger strike May 14. He has demanded that Russia release all Ukrainian political prisoners but is not asking for his own release.

Sentsov is serving a 20-year sentence in a high-security prison camp in the remote Arctic Circle. The filmmaker was arrested in May 2014, shortly after Russia occupied Crimea. He was in detention for more than one year before his trial at which he was accused of terrorism. The prosecution claimed that he had been involved in setting fire to the doors of the unofficial representative offices of the ruling Russian party in Crimea, and in plotting to blow up a Lenin monument. However, there was scant evidence of Sentsov’s participation in either.

Among filmmakers, authors and journalists to previously express support for Sentsov have been Stephen Daldry, Bertrand Tavernier, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismaki, Wim Wenders, Christiane Amanpour, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Jay McInerny, BJ Novak, Salman Rushdie, Stephen Sondheim, Patrick Stewart and Scott Turow. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, appealed in his opening speech of the G7 Summit for Sentsov’s release.

Among the European film organizations to sign the new letter calling for his release are:

Acadèmia del Cinema Català
Academia Portuguesa de Cinema
Académie André Delvaux
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Spain
Accademia del Cinema Italiano – Premi David di Donatello
Akademie des Österreichischen Films
Czech Film and Television Academy
Danish Film Academy
D’Filmakademie Luxemburg
Deutsche Filmakademie
Dutch Academy for Film
European Film Academy
Hellenic Film Academy
Icelandic Film and Television Academy
Irish Film & Television Academy
Israeli Academy
Lithuanian Film Academy
Polish Film Academy
Schweizer Filmakademie
Slovak Film and Television Academy
Ukrainian Film Academy

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