Sergei Lukashevsky: Sakharov Centre Dedicates Festival to Oyub Titiev and Oleg Sentsov

posted 5 Jun 2018, 12:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 5 Jun 2018, 12:20 ]

25 May 2018 

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group [original source: Novaya Gazeta]

Sergei Lukashevsky, director of the Sakharov Centre and member of the Moscow Helsinki Group, has published a video message in support of the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in Russia and Oyub Titiev, head of Memorial in Chechnya. Lukashevsky announced that this year’s Sakharov Festival would be dedicated to them. Sentsov and Titiev today ‘symbolize the struggle for freedom and justice in Russia.’ All funds received by the Festival and cards signed by those attending the event will be sent to the lawyers, relatives and colleagues of Oleg Sentsov and Oyub Titiev.

Sergei Lukashevsky’s Statement

Oleg Sentsov is already on the twelfth day of his hunger strike. Oyub Titiev will soon have another court hearing, the fairness of which is open to doubt. Oyub personifies the courageous and dangerous work of human rights defenders in Chechnya, work which cost Natalia Estemirova her life. Oleg’s hunger strike, for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners, is a tragic reminder of the death of Anatoly Marchenko, in Chistopol prison in December 1986, who died after a 117-day hunger strike while demanding freedom for Soviet political prisoners.

All prisoners of conscience and those unjustly convicted need our support. However, it seems to us that it is Titiev and Sentsov who symbolize the struggle for freedom and justice in Russia today.

It is impossible to imagine that Sakharov would remain silent about the cases of Titiev and Sentsov. The Festival of Freedom, which traditionally honours Andrei Dmitrevich Sakharov, we dedicate to Oyub Titiev and Oleg Sentsov this year.

We will send the all the cards and letters signed during the Festival to Oyub and Oleg, collect signatures in their defence and send money to their relatives to pay for lawyers.

Translated by Matthew Quigley