The Open Dialogue Foundation, which promotes democracy and human rights in post-Soviet states, has been campaigning for the release of the "Kremlin Hostages", a group of 28 Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.
Julie has decided to adopt and sponsor one of the prisoners, the filmmaker Oleg Sentsov. As an artist herself, Julie would like to support a creator who is being persecuted for his work.
Here is a letter Julie sent to Oleg's prison warden, which, together with other letters sent by Parliamentarians and activists around the world, she hopes has eased his conditions. No reply has been received.
Mr. Nikolayev Vitaliy Innokentiyevich
Head of the Federal State Institution Penal Colony №1
of the Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation in the Sakha Republic
677004, Russian Federation, The Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Yakutsk, 25 Ochichenko Street
Dear Mr. Nikolayev Vitaliy Innokentiyevich,
I am writing to you as a Member of the European Parliament, deeply concerned about the condition of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian citizen and movie director who is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence in your institution.
Mr. Sentsov is reported to have suffered torture and inhumane treatment during his detention, after being falsely accused of terrorism offences. I am writing to urge you to guarantee Mr. Sentsov’s well-being, provide him with humane and considerate detention conditions, as well as medical treatment, visitation rights by NGOs, contact with loved ones, and legal representation.
Such humane treatment, including access to health care, healthy diet, and education material, is in line with international human rights norms, particularly Council of Europe rules and guidelines on conditions of prisoners, to which Russia is committed. As the prison warden, ensuring such dignified and humane treatment, and especially access to health care, is your direct individual responsibility.
Mr. Sentsov is one of a group of Ukrainian citizens who were unlawfully detained by Russian forces in Ukraine, falsely accused of war crimes, terrorism, or other offences, and then subjected to torture, and fabricated show-trials.
International community, including renowned movie directors, artists, as well as civil society activists and politicians such as myself are deeply concerned about these unlawful arrests. We are following these prisoners’ situation closely, and are working to secure their release.
As an artist myself, and now as a politician working to promote inter-cultural dialogue and peace-building, this case is especially important to me.
I would like to ask you for assurances that Oleg Sentsov is being treated humanely, and is being provided with the medical treatment, contact with loved ones, and legal representation as and when he requires. I also kindly ask you to inform me and other concerned Members of the European Parliament of Mr. Sentsov’s current condition.
Julie Ward MEP