Film director Oleg Sentsov, who was released on the 7th of September as part of a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, has thanked activists from Amnesty International for writing letters of support during his time in the remand centre and the penal colony. Sentsov, who was arrested in 2014 and whose release was achieved through the many efforts of Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, gave a press conference alongside Alexander Kolchenko in Kiev.
“Of course, I received many letters from Amnesty International. Thank you very much”, said Sentsov. According to him, the activists from Amnesty have contributed greatly to the international campaign for his release.
“For any prisoner, regardless of whether he is a political prisoner, regardless of whether he is Ukrainian or Kazakh, regardless of anything, really, it is just so important to receive letters while in prison. It’s the most important thing. Even when you haven’t eaten for a whole day, when you haven’t received any parcels, or when they have done something to you, you still wait and hope for letters. So, please, write, write, write! About anything! It is really supportive”, said Sentsov.
According to Sentsov, many people wrote to him and he tried his best to reply to all of them.
He reminds us that due to the laws of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, only letters in Russian are permitted, though in some cases he received letters in Ukrainian. Letters that are written in other languages are initially collected by a censor, and only after are they given to him.