Sarajevo Film Festival Supports European Film Academy Initiative for Immediate Release of Oleg Sentsov

European Filmmakers Express Shock About Trial of Ukrainian Filmmaker Facing Up to 20 Years in Jail

In light of tomorrow’s resumption of the trial against Oleg Sentsov - who faces up to 20 years in prison – the Board of the European Film Academy calls for an immediate release of the Ukrainian filmmaker.

Although the prosecution’s main witness has retracted his statement,  the accusation of having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature” is being upheld and the trial continues. An illustrious group of European  film professionals has signed a letter to Russian authorities calling  for the charges to be dropped and the filmmaker – who has now been imprisoned for well over a year – to be released and rehabilitated. The Polish Film Academy is the first of national film academies supporting the EFA initiative.

The full text of the letter is:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - President of Russia
Sergey Evgenyevich Naryshkin – Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation
Alexander Wassiljewitsch Bortnikow - Director of the FSB
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kolokoltsev - Russian Minister of Internal Affairs
Yuriy Yakovlevich Chaika - Prosecutor General

From the moment when we learned that the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol on 11 May 2014, we have been deeply worried. We have followed the proceedings from a trial repeatedly being postponed until over one year later when it finally opened in Rostov-on-Don. Having observed the trial and especially the fact that the key witness for the prosecution has retracted his testimony as “given under pressure and duress”, we are shocked that the accusation of Oleg Sentsov having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature” is still being upheld.

In the light of these circumstances, we respectfully call upon you

  • to ensure the safety of Oleg Sentsov;
  • to have the charges dropped due to insufficient evidence;
  • to have the detained released immediately and unconditionally;
  • to ensure complete rehabilitation of the detained;
  • to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB and Oleg Sentsov’s statements about torture in order to bring all those responsible to justice.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Daldry, director, UK
Mike Downey, producer, UK
Agnieszka Holland, director, Poland
Dariusz Jablonski, producer, Poland
Aki Kaurismäki, director, Finland
Mike Leigh, director, UK
Ken Loach, director, UK
Daniel Olbrychski, actor, Poland
Pawel Pawlikowski, Director, Poland
Volker Schlöndorff, director, Germany
Béla Tarr, director, Hungary
Bertrand Tavernier, director, France
Andrzej Wajda, director, Poland
Wim Wenders, director, Germany
Krzysztof Zanussi, director, Poland
Andrzej Zulawski, director, Poland

The European Film Academy also thanks its friends at the Polish Film Academy who Support this letter:

Jacek Bławut, DoP/director
Ryszard Bugajski, director/screenwriter
Feliks Falk, director/screenwriter
Janusz Głowacki, screenwriter
Jerzy Hoffman, director/screenwriter
Andrzej Jakimowski, director/screenwriter/producer
Violetta Kaminska, producer
Jan Kidawa-Błoński, director/screenwriter
Joanna Kos-Krauze, director/screenwriter
Stefan Laudyn, festival director
Olena Leonenko, actress
Marcel Łoziński, director/screenwriter
Janusz Majewski, director/screenwriter
Ewa Piaskowska, producer
Jerzy Skolimowski, director/screenwriter
Allan Starski, production designer
Małgorzata Szumowska, director/screenwriter
Izabela Wojcik, producer

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