U.S. Strongly Condemns the Sentencing of Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko

Press Statement
John Kirby
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 25, 2015

The United States strongly condemns today’s sentencing in a Russian military court of acclaimed Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov and activist Oleksandr Kolchenko to 20 and 10 years respectively, on groundless allegations of plotting terrorist attacks and other subversive activities in Russian-occupied Crimea.

This is clear miscarriage of justice. Both Ukrainians were taken hostage on Ukrainian territory, transported to and imprisoned in Russia, and had Russian citizenship imposed on them against their wills. They have reported abuses by Russian authorities who also restricted their access to lawyers, family, and others while in jail for more than a year. Mr. Sentsov and Mr. Kolchenko were targeted by authorities because of their opposition to Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea.

The United States stands by those who are persecuted for exercising their rights to speak freely and engage in peaceful protest. We again call upon the Russian Federation to implement the commitments it made in signing the Minsk agreements by immediately releasing Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Nadia Savchenko, and all other remaining hostages.

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