The Board of the European Film Academy calls for the immediate release of Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov.
Sentsov, who has been involved in supporting the Euro Maidan protests in Kiev and has opposed the annexation of Crimea by Russia, was arrested at his home in Simferopol, Crimea, and accused of organizing a terrorist attack. It is believed that the director has been flown to Moscow where he is facing trial.
From Kiev, where EFA Chairwoman Agnieszka Holland is currently attending the Ukraine Thinking Together Conference, she states: "We know that every time when artists start to be suppressed by a political regime, this regime becomes a dictatorship."
In support of its friends and colleagues in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere in the world in their struggle for free artistic expression, the EFA Board cannot tolerate it when people are persecuted for political reasons and wishes to underline its firm belief in the free expression of opinion as an essential and basic value of any democratic society.