Monday, June 11, 2018

Ukrainian-Americans, Global Community Asked to Participate in One-Day Hunger Strike in Support of Oleh Sentsov

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest representation of 1.5 million Americans of Ukrainian descent, calls upon the Ukrainian-American community, and our friends around the world, to express their solidarity with Oleh Sentsov by participating in a one-day hunger strike this Wednesday, June 13, on the eve of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.  This act of political protest follows on UCCA’s June 1 letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders calling attention to Mr. Sentsov, and the over 60 Ukrainian political prisoners who languish in Russian prisons.

An award-winning film director and a Ukrainian native of Crimea, Oleh Sentsov is currently imprisoned in Siberia. On May 14, he declared an indefinite hunger strike, stating that “the one and only condition for its termination is the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners that are currently present on the territory of the Russian Federation.” In no uncertain terms, Oleh Sentsov has declared that if he dies during the World Cup “he would be happy for having drawn attention to Ukrainian political prisoners.”

To amplify Sentsov’s message beyond his prison cell, UCCA has chosen June 13 for a solidarity hunger strike because it is on the eve of the FIFA World Cup, the world’s second largest sporting event, which is being held this year in Russia. UCCA President Andriy Futey stated that “UCCA strongly believes that it is morally reprehensible that an international sporting event designed to promote international goodwill and harmony will be held in a country that continues to blatantly disregard basic human rights and the rule of law.”

UCCA calls for the United States to support the immediate release of Oleh Sentsov and the over sixty other Ukrainian political prisoners currently held by Russia by utilizing the Magnitsky Act and CAATSA, as passed by Congress in December 2012 and July 2017, respectively, and implement additional sanctions against Russian officials.

UCCA urges all those who wish to participate in this one-day hunger strike on June 13 to share their activism with others through social media, using the following hashtags:

Source: UCCA

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