Council of Europe Secretary General to officially request Sentsov’s release

On June 25, Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CE), will send Russian President Vladimir Putin an official request to pardon Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, a senior CE official told Deutsche Welle.

“On Monday, Jagland will file a petition for the pardoning of Sentsov,” Deputy Secretary General Daniel Holtgen announced. He also pointed out that the Secretary General has a right to do so according to the European Convention on Human Rights.

On June 20, Jagland visited Moscow, where he met with President Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova. According to Holtgen, the CE secretary general did not discuss the release of Ukrainian political prisoners with Putin. However, during his meetings with Lavrov and Moskalkova, Jagland urged them to release Oleh Sentsov for humanitarian considerations.

“The Russian party listened to the plea, but expressed neither support nor opposition,” Holtgen noted. For this reason, the head of the CE has decided to personally petition for the prisoner’s release.

In 2015, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years of high-security prison on charges of terrorism. He was arrested in May 2014 in Russian-annexed Crimea and charged with creating a terrorist group on the peninsula. Sentsov denies the charges, and claims to have been tortured in prison. On May 14 this year he began a hunger strike, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners.

  Sentsov, Thorbjorn Jagland, political prisoners, Russia, Ukraine