UCC Calls for Sanctions against Russian Human Rights Violators
Three years ago, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was arrested by Russian “authorities” in Russian-occupied Crimea and imprisoned on false charges of “terrorism.” Sentsov was sentenced in a Russian show trial to 20 years in prison. There was no evidence of Sentsov having committed any crime and Russia had no jurisdiction to detain, try, sentence or imprison him.
Last month, Sentsov was awarded the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award “in recognition of his commitment to the freedom of expression—particularly one’s right to dissent—despite suffering imprisonment and abuse at the hands of the authorities” by PEN America.
Ukrainian civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko was sentenced together with Sentsov to 10 years in prison on the same fabricated charges. Today, both men, as well as over 20 other Ukrainian citizens, are illegally imprisoned by Russia.
As part of its war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia is abducting and condemning innocent people to long sentences – people whose only “crime” is to resist the tyranny of Putin’s regime and to stand for the principles of truth and justice.
The Russian officials responsible for these egregious violations of human rights have names. According to the authoritative Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, in the case of Sentsov, they are:
1. Artem BURDIN who acted as the chief ‘investigator’ and who is understood to have instructed the use of torture. Born 19.11.1963, and a Russian citizen, Burdin is the senior investigator on ‘particularly important cases’ within the FSB
2. The judges responsible for Sentsov’s 20-year and Kolchenko’s 10-year sentences. They include three judges from the Rostov (North Caucuses District) Military Court:
- Sergei Arkadyevich MYKHAILYUK, DOB 1.05.1958, Russian citizen (the presiding judge), and
- Edward Vasilyevich KOROBENKO, DOB 19.01.1968, Russian citizen
- Viacheslav Alexeevich KORSAKOV, Russian citizen
3. Oleg Vladimirovich TKACHENKO, DOB 22.02.1964, Russian citizen who acted as chief prosecutor in the Sentsov – Kolchenko trial.
Russia continues to ignore repeated demands by Canada, the EU, US, OSCE, and many other democratic states and institutions for the release of Sentsov, Kolchenko and all other Ukrainian political prisoners held by Russia.
HOW YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) has initiated a letter-writing campaign to #FreeSentsov. The UCC calls on all Canadians to write to their Members of Parliament and request that Canada implement sanctions against Russian officials responsible for the illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian citizens and the violation of their human rights.
A sample letter from KHPG is available here: http://khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1494339392
You can find the email and mail address of your MP here: http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?Menu=HOC
More information on Sentsov’s PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award is available at