A press release of the appeal reads: "In light of tomorrow's resumption of the trial against Oleh Sentsov, who faces up to 20 years in prison, the Board of the European Film Academy calls for an immediate release of the Ukrainian filmmaker. Although the prosecution's main witness has retracted his statement, the accusation of having committed "crimes of a terrorist nature" is being upheld and the trial continues. An illustrious group of European film professionals has signed a letter to Russian authorities calling for the charges to be dropped and the filmmaker, who has now been imprisoned for well over a year, to be released and rehabilitated."
The full text of the letter addressing the leadership of the Russian Federation is:
"From the moment when we learned that the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov was arrested by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) in his house in Simferopol on May 11, 2014, we have been deeply worried. We have followed the proceedings from a trial repeatedly being postponed until over one year later when it finally opened in Rostov-on-Don. Having observed the trial and especially the fact that the key witness for the prosecution has retracted his testimony as "given under pressure and duress", we are shocked that the accusation of Oleh Sentsov having committed "crimes of a terrorist nature" is still being upheld.
"In the light of these circumstances, we respectfully call upon you:
- to ensure the safety of Oleh Sentsov;
- to have the charges dropped due to insufficient evidence;
- to have the detained released immediately and unconditionally;
- to ensure complete rehabilitation of the detained;
- to instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB and Oleh Sentsov's statements about torture in order to bring all those responsible to justice."
The letter is addressed to Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.
The letter is signed by members of the EFA Board: Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland, Aki Kaurismäki, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Volker Schlöndorff, Béla Tarr, Bertrand Tavernier, Andrzej Wajda, Wim Wenders, Krzysztof Zanussi and actor Daniel Olbrychski. The letter is supported by members of the Polish Film Academy: director Pavel Pawlikowski, Jerzy Skolimowski, Andrzej Zulawski, Marcel Lozinski, Malgorzata Shumovsky and many others.