Screening-discussion in support of Ukrainian political prisoners, including Oleg Sentsov, took place in the Kyiv Cinema. Such speakers participated in it: Marion Döring, director of European Film Academy, Pylyp IIyenko, Head of Ukrainian State Film Agency, Vasyl Bodnar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Khalpakhchi, the general director of the KIFF “Molodist”, Yuriy Yatsenko, Ukrainian political prisoner and former captive of the Kremlin, Vyacheslav Bihun, the director of the film “Strong in Spirit”. Ukraininan producer Anna Palenchuk became a moderator of the discussion.
Firstly, Marion Döring, director of the European Film Academy, expressed her opinion on the issue. She emphasized that besides the European Film Academy, support for the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov was also shown by other international organizations: "In fact, there are a lot of protests that are constantly taking place, not only here at the “Molodist” film festival, they take place all over the world. Our task, as a film community, is not to stop talking about Oleg, because it seems to me, in part, that people who were responsible for his imprisonment were aiming for that. We cannot physically take him out of the prison, because it is not in our power. However, we must continue our own protest, continue to talk about it ".
Andriy Khalpakhchi, the general director of KIFF “Molodist”, reminded the audience of Oleg Sentsov’s creative career at the film festival. And he added about the 19th day of the hunger strike of Oleg: "Our film director Oleg debuted at the festival “Molodist”. For the first time in his life he showed the film" Gamer". Yet this voice must be heard. We cannot be silent. "
Pylyp IIyenko, Head of Ukrainian State Film Agency: "Ukrainian authorities do not need any reminders, the Ukrainian authorities do everything possible, we just have to talk frankly - we do not obtain such opportunities, which allow us to free our political prisoners by physical force or other legal means.”
Vasyl Bodnar, Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, said that an active campaign exists in the embassies and among international partners in support of the Kremlin's political prisoners. Besides that, additional lists are being prepared to impose sanctions on those, who are involved in the imprisonment of Ukrainians: "We have also made efforts to include those who were involved in the imprisonment of the political prisoners".
Also the film “Strong in Spirit”, directed by Vyacheslav Bihun, which tells a story of a released Ukrainian political prisoner Yuriy Yatsenko, was screened. This is a film-confession of a young captive, who was the first one to escape from the Kremlin prison after the war began. Secretly detained and tortured in Russia in 2014, to inform the world about himself, Yuriy resorted to a desperate but thoughtful step. What did he experience, how he fought and survived? What are experiencing all Ukrainian political prisoners: Oleg Sentsov, Roman Sushchenko, other captives of the Kremlin? The film reflects one of the modern images of a Ukrainian that can inspire.
The hero of the film shared with the audience in the hall the most vivid and at the same time the most painful memories: "I had the following plan: when I was about to leave the prison, in the seams of clothing I hid disposable blades for shaving, which cannot be spotted by a metal detector; I thought that I would stand in front of the surveillance camera, just keep the razor blade near my neck until they will give me the opportunity to call home." But, as the director pointed out, everything worked out without it.
According to the Ukrainian human rights initiative LetMyPeopleGo, currently in the Russian Federation 64 Ukrainians are imprisoned. Most of them are Crimean Tatars. Aisha Umerova, the daughter of a former Crimean political prisoner, added: "Last week there were two more arrests. They arrest not only activists, those who have to do something with religious affairs, but also patrons who help families of political prisoners during these two years. Oleg plays such an important role right now and this is very significant. Before my father, Ilmi Umerov, was at this place, when he was taken to a psychiatric clinic for allegedly an examination. At that time a huge wave of protests swept across the world and it gave the result".
In conclusion, the participants of the discussion emphasized the necessity of the law "About the legal status and social guarantees for people, illegally deprived of their liberty, hostages or convicts in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and abroad", which will enable the preparation of claims to the international courts. And, of course, in spite of everything, will not let the voice of the common sense and justice to be silenced.