Russia: take action for Oleg Sentsov

Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is serving a 20-year prison sentence on spurious terrorism charges after a grossly unfair trial by a Russian military court, marred by allegations of torture. He is currently being held in the ‘Polar Bear’ penal colony of Labytnangi, in Siberia, thousands of kilometres away from his home and family in Crimea. He recently spent 145 days on hunger strike, calling for the release of all Ukrainian prisoners imprisoned in Russia on politically motivated grounds. He ended his strike on 6 October 2018 as he feared being forced-fed.

PEN  believes that Oleg Sentsov was imprisoned for his opposition to Russia’s occupation and ‘annexation’ of Crimea and calls on the Russian authorities to release him immediately. We urge the Russian authorities to respect Oleg Sentsov’s human rights and his right to medical attention.



The amount of support Oleg Sentsov received during his hunger strike was staggering. We are grateful to everyone who sent him messages of solidarity and would like to encourage you to keep writing to him.

Please note that all messages need to be written in Russian. If you do not speak Russian, we have a team of volunteer translators to help (email or you can use the sample message below. Please send copies of your messages via email to and share details of the initiative and photos of your messages on social media with the hashtags #FreeSentsov and #PENgreetings.

Dear Oleg, I wish you good health and strength and hope that you will soon be released. We are all thinking of you and stand with you in solidarity and respect.

Дорогой Олег, желаю Вам крепкого здоровья и сил, и надеюсь, что Вы скоро будете освобождены. Мы все думаем о Вас и поддерживаем в знак солидарности и уважения.


Oleg Gennadievych Sentsov, Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous okrug, Labytnangi, Severnaya St, 33, Russian Federation, 629400

629400 Ямало-Ненецкий автономный округ, город Лабытнанги, улица Северная 33, Сенцову Олегу Геннадьевичу, Россия


Share details of Oleg Sentsov’s case and his writings on social media.
#FreeSentsov #FreeOlegSentsov #ImprisonedWriter


Please send appeals to the Russian authorities urging them to:

• Release Oleg Sentsov immediately;
• Respect Oleg Sentsov’s human rights, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and his right to medical attention;
• Return all Ukrainian nationals arrested in Crimea and now held in Russia to Ukraine, as required by international law, and free all held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Send appeals to:

President of the Russian Federation
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Ul.Ilyinka, 23
103132 Moscow
Russian Federation

Electronic copies can also be sent to:

Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Yuri Yakovlevich Chaika
Prosecutor General’s Office
ul. B. Dmitrovka, d.15a
125993 Moscow GSP- 3
Russian Federation

Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation
Tatiana Nikolaevna Moskalkova
ul. Miasnitskaia, 47
107084, Moscow
Russian Federation

Send copies to the Embassy of Russia in your own country. Embassy addresses may be found here.

We also encourage you to reach out to your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic representatives in Russia, calling on them to raise Oleg Sentsov’s case in bilateral fora.

Please let us know about your activities and send us reports about the actions you take via the comments box below or via email to

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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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