Putin’s Russia: 158 political prisoners deprived of their human rights as the World Cup kicks off in Moscow
MEPs today adopted in plenary a resolution on Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, arrested in Crimea shortly after Russia took control of the Black Sea peninsula in 2014, asking for his immediate and unconditional release.
Oleg Sentsov, is on hunger strike and serving a 20-year sentence on multiple terrorism charges in a high-security prison camp in north Russia. More than 70 Ukrainian political prisoners are illegally detained in Russia and in occupied Crimea, including Oyub Titiev, Director of the Human Rights Centre Memorial in the Chechen Republic.
MEP Hans van Baalen (VVD, The Netherlands), ALDE Group’ spokesman on Russia and Ukraine, said:
“The illegal detention of Oleg Sentsov as well as other Ukranian activists by the Russian authorities is unacceptable. This once more underlines the necessity to maintain strong European sanctions against Putin and his entourage, who are responsible for the climate of impunity and worrying trend of arrests, attacks, intimidations and discrediting of independent journalists and human rights defenders.”
ALDE MEP, Marietje Schaake (D66, The Netherlands), added:
“As people watch the World Cup, 158 political prisoners are held in Russian prisons. This is the reality of Putin's Russia which we should not forget. We urge Russian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and respect people’s rights even when in detention.”
ALDE MEP, Petras Auštrevičius (Liberal Movement of Lithuania), said Sentsov hopes to make his case noticed due to the World Cup football tournament kicking off in Russia later today:
“I expect EU leaders will choose to watch the World Cup on TV and reject any offers of Russian hospitality in Moscow. If anyone will be there, at the stadium, it will only legitimate Putin’s actions.”