2018 Sentsov (copy 01)

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Dear UCCA Members and Friends,

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest grassroots representation of Americans of Ukrainian descent, has sent an urgent letter of appeal to President Trump and Congressional leaders. The letter implores the United States to “take the lead in promoting international norms” and demand the immediate release of Ukrainian activist Oleh Sentsov and the over sixty other political prisoners currently imprisoned by Russia.

Millions of Ukrainians around the world have united to give voice to those facing brutal repression in the areas of Ukraine currently illegally occupied by Russian forces – an occupation that has not only manifested itself in imprisonment, but in the all too common “disappearance” of those deemed to be "trouble-makers."

Russia currently imprisons over 60 Ukrainians abducted illegally from their homeland, including the award-winning filmmaker Oleh Sentsov. A native of Crimea, Sentsov is serving a 20-year prison sentence at a strict penal colony in the Siberian region of Yakutia following a 2015 show trial reminiscent of the Stalin-era. Beginning with his arrest in May 2014 soon after Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula, Russia has illegally imprisoned dozens of Ukrainian citizens in occupied areas of Ukraine and Russia, including Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav Klikh, Oleksiy Chyrnyi, Roman Sushchenko, and many, many others.

As stated in UCCA’s letter to the President, Speaker Ryan, and Leaders McConnell, Schumer and Pelosi, Sentsov has recently declared a courageous hunger strike to protest Russia’s violations of internationally recognized human rights. In a letter provided to his to his lawyer, Sentsov stated that “the only condition for ending [the hunger strike] is the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners held by Russia.”

UCCA calls for the United States to support these imprisoned Ukrainians by utilizing the Magnitsky Act and CAATSA, as passed by Congress in December 2012 and July 2017, respectively, and implement additional sanctions against Russian officials.

Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Calls
For Oleg Sentsov’s Release

May 25, 2018 
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Andy Harris (R-MD) called on the Russian government to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov.

“As this injustice by the Russian government continues it is more important than ever that we stand up for the principles of free speech and a free press, including for those speaking out against tyranny. We remain deeply concerned about the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and call on Russian authorities to abide by the rule of law and release him immediately,” said the Co-Chairs.

Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian citizen and resident of Crimea, protested Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea. He was arrested in Crimea in May 2014, transported to Russia, and sentenced by a Russian military court to 20 years in prison on terrorism charges in August 2015. At the time of the sentencing, the U.S. State Department called his case a clear miscarriage of justice.

Last week, Oleg Sentsov began a hunger strike to protest his continued imprisonment as well as that of other Ukrainian political prisoners.

The U.S. Congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe hosted a briefing in August 2017 scrutinizing Oleg Sentsov’s detention, calling it an injustice, and highlighting Russia’s human rights violations against other Ukrainian citizens.
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The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) is a non-profit, non-partisan community-based organization that has represented the interests of Ukrainians in the United States since 1940. 
Український Конґресовий Комітет Америки (УККА) є неприбутковою, безпартійною громадською організацією, яка представляє інтереси українців у Сполучених Штатах Америки з 1940 року. 
Copyright © 2018 UCCA, Inc., All rights reserved.

Media Contact: Andrij Dobriansky

National Office
203 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003
+1 (212) 228-6840

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