Three short stories by Crimean director Oleg Sentsov have been published in English amid calls to release the filmmaker from prison in Russia.
The three texts — Autobiography, Testament and Dog — were translated by Dr Uilleam Blacker, a lecturer at University College London, for free speech campaign group PEN International.
Earlier in May 2018, Sentsov went on hunger strike in the jail where he has been incarcerated for the past four years. The director was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2014 following accusations that he had planned to blow up a statue of Lenin and set fire to the offices of a pro-Kremlin political party.
Groups such as PEN International have called on the case to be retried, warning that the trial could have been politically-motivated.
“PEN International fears that Oleg Sentsov was imprisoned for his opposition to Russia’s occupation and illegal annexation of Crimea and calls on the Russian authorities to release him immediately,” the group said in a statement. “Should there be grounds for prosecution on charges of terrorism, these should be heard by a civilian court under Ukrainian law. The organisation further calls on the Russian authorities to respect Oleg Sentsov’s human rights, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment as it pertains to hunger strike, and his right to medical attention.”
Others who have called for Sentsov’s release include the European Film Academy, European Parliament, and French president Emmanuel Macron, as well as celebrities including Patrick Stewart, Johnny Depp and Steven King. The director is reportedly receiving nourishment via an IV line, but has not been examined by Ukrainian doctors.