Sentsov Gives First Interview After Release
The Ukrainian film director gave a wide ranging interview on his detention by the Russian authorities
Photo from Ukrinform-UATV
Oleh Sentsov gave his first interview after being released from Russian detention. He talked to journalists from Hromadske TV and talked about life as a political prisoner after the annexation of Crimea.
The trial of Oleh Sentsov and Oleksandr Kolchenko was the first, a test case serving as a pattern for the future persecution of activists.
“They had one job — to manufacture a rolling case — and they did… Their job was to testify to someone in Kyiv’s leadership. If you remember, it was the beginning of May 2014, the presidential election was approaching. I had a business card from Klitschko someone gave me on the Maidan. It was found, even business cards of some Mejlis deputies. Name any big name — and you’ll only get 7 years. No — 20 years. I said no, got 20 like in a store,” Sentsov said.
Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy were detained by the Russian FSB on May 9, 10, 2014. The men were accused of plotting terrorist acts.
The whole case was manufactured by the FSB and based on a faked confession from the first detainee. FSB officers tortured Oleksiy Chyrniy into confessing, forcing him to agree with false testimony which had been prepared by law enforcement.
During the trial, held in Rostov-on-Don, Sentsov openly testified about being tortured by FSB officers after his detention.
Answering a question by the Hromadske journalists, Sentsov stated that he had given testimony to the Crimea Prosecutor’s Office, testimony that could be used in any action in the Hague Tribunal.
“I came and testified because it is a testimony against the FSB, their actions, to the Hague Tribunal. Evil must be punished. There were the staff of the FSB and several SBU staff who switched sides. Served to be hired,” he said.
Sentsov launched a hunger strike while in detention, bringing attention from all over the world to the plight of the Ukrainian political prisoners.
He was on the hunger strike for 146 days, demanding the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners, until he was pressured to stop under threat of force feeding.
“I was preparing, recovering my health for the next hunger strike, because I realized that if nothing happens after the election of a new President if the situation goes to a deadlock again, I will start starving again. I knew that the second hunger strike would not bring as much attention as the first, but there was no way out, so I was preparing,” Sentsov said.
The issue of recognizing Crimea as Russian territory cannot be discussed, according to Sentsov.
“I will never recognize Crimea as a part of Russia. This is out of the question. The same refers to Donbas ‘republics’ which are artificial satellites of the Russian Federation. This is also part of Ukraine, and I will never recognize the separatist sentiments, the desire to join Russia. We are one country, from which we were torn off, and we will never agree with this,” Sentsov said.
He noted that these issues are a “red line” while everything else can be discussed.
Sentsov is pro-European in his views.
“I tell many people why I went to the Maidan and why I stand by this — I want to live as they live in Europe so that we become a European country and live by European principles and then — by their standards. And I don’t want to live as they live in Russia — it goes to the Soviet Union,” Sentsov said.
However, he has not decided yet whether he will go into politics or not.
“I don’t know. We’ll see what happens,” Sentsov added.
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