European Filmmakers Write to Putin about Ukrainian Director

LONDON — Some of Europe’s top filmmakers — Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach, Aki Kaurismaki and Mike Leigh, among them — have called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to clarify the status of detained Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Putin, other leading Russian politicians, including Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, and the head of Russia’s security service FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, a group of 19 leading European directors and producers asked the Russian government to ensure the safety of Sentsov, and to make known his exact whereabouts.

They also asked that Sentsov be charged with a “recognizable offence or released,” and that the government “instigate a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the apparently arbitrary detention by the FSB in order to bring all those responsible to justice.”

The letter, which was the idea of the board of the European Film Academy, was also signed by helmers Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland, Volker Schlondorff, Bela Tarr, Betrand Tavernier, Andrzej Wajda, Wim Wenders and Krzysztof Zanussi.

Sentsov was arrested by the FSB in his house in Simferopol, Crimea, on May 11, and taken to Moscow, where he is in prison awaiting trial on terrorism charges. Crimea, formerly a part of Ukraine, was annexed by Russia in March.

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