Ukrainian Filmmaker Oleh Sentsov was detained in his hometown of Simferopol in Crimea in 2014, and has since been sentenced to 20 years hard labor in a prison camp north of the Arctic Circle. He’s been accused of terrorism for refusing to acknowledge Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
Sentsov has been on a hunger strike since May to protest Russia’s treatment of Ukrainians leading up to the World Cup. He’s one of 80 Ukrainian political prisoners imprisoned in Russia. Nearly 2 million people have been displaced and 10,000 people have been killed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014.
Filmmakers from around the world have rallied in support of Sentsov and his fellow prisoners. The #FreeSentsov hashtag appeared on screens at the Cannes International Film Festival, Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot staged a protest at New York’s Trump Tower to free Sentsov, and a Chicago group of Ukrainian Americans staged a series of protests downtown in May.
WBEZ Film Contributor Milos Stehlik speaks with some of the people leading the movement to release Oleh Sentsov.