Telička wants to nominate imprisoned Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov for the Sakharov Price

Vice-president of the European Parliament Pavel Telička has proposed Oleg Sentsov as the ALDE nominee for the Sakharov Price. The Ukrainian director and civilian activist was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Russia. Since May, he has held a protest hunger strike to draw attention to violations of basic human rights in Russia and to call for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners. 

Oleg Sentsov has been a fierce opponent of the annexation of Crimea. In 2014, he was arrested and accused of membership in the Ukrainian Nationalist Party which Russia ranks as a terrorist organizations. Although Sentsov admitted to these crimes, he later declared that he had been tortured to confess. Now he insists on the fact that all these charges are fictious. In 2015, during the process that Amnesty International described as Stalinist, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Nevertheless, no evidence was provided to record Oleg’s direct involvement in these crimes. Several Russian, European and international organizations have protested against the process and judgement. 

Before the start of this year’s World Cup in Russia, Sentsov launched a hunger strike to draw attention to the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Russia. The condition of its interruption is the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners imprisoned on Russian territory. 

“Yesterday about thirty people expressed their support to Oleg Sentsov during a protest in front of the Russian Embassy in the Czech Republic,” Telička explained, “Nevertheless, his case still does not have sufficient attention. By proposing Sentsov for the Sakharov Prize, I want not only to support his fight for freedom and fundamental rights, but also to focus more attention on his case and that of many similar cases in Russia.” 

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