Sentsov's cousin sister, Natalia Kaplan, accepted the prize in the filmmaker's name at a ceremony in Strasbourg on Wednesday, December 12, Ukrinform's correspondent in Strasbourg reports.
"Today is a sad day for all of us. I would like to express my respect for Oleg Sentsov, who was imprisoned for political reasons," European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said.
On behalf of the European Parliament, Tajani expressed solidarity with Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners of the Russian regime and urged Russia to release them immediately.
"Oleg is a man who does not give up and cannot but act [...] Through his act, the whole world has learned about Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia. He has already won," Kaplan said.
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced in Russia to 20 years in prison on charges of preparing terrorist attacks in occupied Crimea, was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in October 2018. Sentsov was nominated for the prize by the largest political group in the European Parliament - the European People's Party.
EPP representatives noted that, in fact, Sentsov was convicted for his protest against Russian rule in Crimea and that he became a symbol of about 70 Ukrainian citizens illegally arrested and sentenced by the Russian authorities on the Crimean peninsula to long prison terms.
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