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Almodovar, Loach Call On Putin After Crimean Filmmaker Jailed for Terrorism

Published: June 14, 2014 (Issue # 1815)



  • Crimean director Oleg Sentsov was arrested by Russia's Federal Security Bureau at his home in Simferopol.
    Photo: Oleg Sentsov / VK

About 20 European filmmakers have penned an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin demanding clarity on the fate of Crimean director Oleg Sentsov, who is being held in Moscow on charges of terrorism.

"Oleg Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation [FSB] at his home in Simferopol on May 11 and taken to Moscow, where he is detained and awaiting trial," said the text of the letter, which was published in full by movie website screendaily.com.

In the letter addressed to State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin and Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, among others, the manifest's signatories said little was known about the condition of Sentsov.

"We urge you to ensure the safety of Oleg Sentsov; to make public the whereabouts of the detained; to have the detained charged with a recognizable offense or released; to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB," the authors of the text, including British director Ken Loach and Spain's Pedro Almodovar, added in the letter.

An ethnic Russian, Sentsov stands accused by authorities of organizing a terrorist attack — a charge his supporters say is politically motivated.

Sentsov was a supporter of Ukraine's Euromaidan protesters, whose demonstrations led to the ouster of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych in February, and he also helped Ukrainian military officers who did not support Russia's annexation of Crimea to leave the Black Sea peninsula, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

"Sentsov is one many people arrested in Crimea and carted off to Moscow on trumped-up charges. I would hope that we can use his position as a public figure to draw attention to this. I urge our brave friends and colleagues in the Russian industry to speak out," British producer Mike Downey, a signatory of the letter, was quoted as saying.

If found guilty, Sentsov faces up to 10 years in prison under Russian law — the minimum term available for those convicted of terrorism-related charges.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered — 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs — starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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