The European Union Delegation to the Council of Europe issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission to the Council of Europe.
Shortly after the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation in 2014, film director Oleg Sentsov was arrested in Crimea. He was treated by the Russian Federation as a Russian citizen despite his Ukrainian citizenship and against his explicit will.
He was accused of plotting terrorist acts for which the investigators could not find any evidence. After a trial, which was not in line with the Russian Federation's international human rights obligations, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On 14 May 2018 Mr Sentsov started a hunger strike to protest the incarceration of all his fellow Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and demand their release.
Mr Sentsov’s case is no longer just a judicial or political one: it is now a matter of human compassion. His health is at risk of rapid deterioration. He should be immediately and unconditionally released on humanitarian grounds.
In addition to Mr Sentsov's release, the EU recalls its long standing request that all those who have been detained and sentenced in breach of international law in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula should also be released, and as a matter of urgency, those prisoners currently on hunger strike or with urgent medical conditions.
The following countries Albania, Georgia, Iceland, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.