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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Oleg Sentsov


Detained: May 10, 2014.

Charges: Setting up a branch of a terrorist group and organizing terrorist acts.

Sentence: Twenty years in prison.

Biography: Oleg Sentsov is an Ukrainian film director who was sentenced on August 25, 2015 to 20 years imprisonment for allegedly setting up a branch of a 'terrorist group’ and organizing ‘terrorist acts’ in April 2014. His conviction in a military court in Russia, followed a grossly unfair trial, on politically-motivated charges, and was based on “confessions” obtained through torture. Amnesty International is calling for his immediate release. During his arrest by the Russian State Security (FSB), Oleg was tortured by FSB by putting a plastic bag over his head until he passed out. They also threatened him with rape and murder, which forced Sentsov to “confess” to organizing explosions, acts of terrorism, and illegal possession of firearms.

Sentsov’s rights were violated throughout his arrest, detainment, and trial. In violation of international humanitarian law, Sentsov was transferred to and faced trial in Russia, despite being arrested in Crimea and being a Ukrainian citizen. Sentsov was also denied access to his Russian lawyer for five days after being transferred to Russia. Additionally, he has not been given access to the Ukrainian Consul in Russia, which also violates international law. 

On May 14, 2018 Sentsov declared he was going on an indefinite hunger strike until all Ukrainian political prisoners are released in Russia. On June 4th Sentsov’s lawyer reported that he had lost 8 kilograms so far and prison doctors have warned that he could be at grave risk of kidney failure.

Sentsov ended his hunger strike after 145 days, citing the “critical state of his health” and the impending threat of hospitalization and force-feeding. His appeal is due to be heard on November 24, 2018. 

Oleg Sentsov was RELEASED as part of prisoner exchange in September 2019.

Advocate: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

Advocacy Partner: Amnesty International