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Like the film director Oleh Senzow, many Russian artists and government critics sit in prison. Can the attention for the soccer World Cup help you?

Oleh Senzow: Opposition is terrorism

Like the film director Oleh Senzow, many Russian artists and government critics sit in prison. Can the attention for the soccer World Cup help you?

Oleh Senzow: Opposition is terrorism

Actions in 78 cities worldwide. Well over a thousand artists and cultural institutions who are committed to his release, including Nobel Prize winners Herta Müller and Svetlana Alexievitch. The family who turns to Putin personally. At a press conference with France's president, Macron in May, urgent questions will be asked, most recently formulated by EU President Donald Tusk at G7 summit in Canada a fighting appeal. Who has not heard of Oleh Senzow by now. Since 2015, filmmaker and Maidan activist has been serving a 20-year-old detention, now in a penal colony for criminals in Labytnangi, Siberia. Since 14 May, Senzow protests re in Arctic with a hunger strike for release of all 64 political Ukrainian prisoners in Russia. After 30 days, his condition is dubious.

Neverless, Senzow writes in a letter to human rights activist Tatjana and Nikolai Schtschur that he is now "no longer a prisoner, but a sick prisoner" and is well cared for in prison hospital. As FAZ reports, 41-year-old thanks him for his support also on part of award-winning Russian director Andrei Zvjaginsev (Loveless), but criticizes that he makes him a victim. He was not a loser, he did not want to be spared. Apparently, Senzow is determined to do everything. "He stands by his word," said his cousin Natalia Kaplan to Guardian. To his lawyer Dmitri Dise, who Senzow hand-written hunger strike declaration at beginning of June, he should have said that if he dies during football World Cup, he will pay more attention to situation of prisoners.

Does public pressure help directly in front of World Cup, where everyone is looking at Russia? The European Film Academy hopes that since arrest as a "Crimean terrorist" 2014, or better: since abduction by Russian secret Service from his apartment in Simferopol in Crimea to Moscow for Senzow. So far everything has been in vain: that EFA President Agnieszka Holland, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismäki, Hanna Schygulla, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and many or open letters are writing and worry about Senzows life. That Berlinale 2017 showed 75-minute docu trial: The state of Russia vs. Oleg Sentsov. Or that Amnesty International warns of special responsibility of authorities, because of "unfair court proceedings". Human Rights Watch talks about a political show process.

Torture, maltreatment, forced confessions

Senzows "Crime": director, who presented 2012 at Rotterdam Film festival his directorial debut Gamer about a compulsive gambler and his "purification", supplied Ukrainian soldiers with food, demonstrated on Maidan in Kiev and protested against Crimean annexation. He was convicted of founding of a terrorist group, and planning of attacks was also subject to him. A witness later withdrew his testimony, and was born under torture. The fact that Senzows body had bruises during process was explained with an alleged penchant for SM.

Torture, maltreatment, forced confessions? Toger with Senzow, economist Oleksandr Koltschenko was arrested and sentenced to ten years in stock. Koltschenko refused to have vital heart medications at times; He is also said to have entered hunger strike. The Ukrainian activist and filmmaker Slavik Bihun was released after one and a half years of detention, he turned a 20-minute short film about his experiences 2014, strong in spirit. You see his eyes, hear his voice, in between animated scenes. In trailer, re are short pictures of thunderstorms of interrogations, of "fun" of his tormentors, of blows, of agony, until his body no longer belonged to him, Bihun. He cut off wrists – that saved him.

Ukraine activists, Kremlin critics, many are currently harassed in Russia: internationally sought-after director Kirill Serebrennikov is under house arrest in Moscow, threatening to prosecute him under pretext of embezzlement of state funds. Here too, authorities have been unimpressed by international protests. In January, Chechen lawyer Ojub Titijew was arrested, and in Grozny he led renowned human rights organization Memorial. Ukraine activist Volodymyr Baluch has been on hunger strike for 80 days, in a camp in Crimea. The Ukrainian journalist Roman Suschtschenko was sentenced ten days ago to twelve years in prison for alleged espionage. Or journalists sit in prison, NGO members are bullied, Jehovah's Witnesses arrested, homosexuals persecuted...

The EFA managing director Marion Döring is in constant contact with Human Rights Watch and or organizations because of Oleh Senzow, she says: "It is our job not to stop talking about Oleh." The film academy also asks for donations for family: The children of single far now live with grandmor in annexed of Crimea. At G7 summit, Tusk also emphasized to Heads of State: "Our solidarity can save his life."

Putin has reacted harshly to all this so far, Senzow is condemned as a terrorist, not as a film artist. Some people refore hope for discreet background diplomacy, exchange of prisoners or pardon. Prisoners had also been amnestied at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, two members of teenage riot, Greenpeace activists. But that was before Crimean annexation.

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