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Meryl Streep Backs #FreeSentsov Campaign
1 May, 2017
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Photo by Mustafa Nayeem

Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Meryl Streep joined the initiative to support Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film-director and political prisoner. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being subjected to a fabricated case in Russia.

Ukrainian MP Mustafa Nayyem published a photo on Facebook, where he and the American actress are holding a #FreeSentsov sign together, taken during the 2017 PEN America Literary Gala Benefit on April 25th.

According to Nayyem, Meryl Streep knew that there was an imprisoned film-director nominated for an award at the 2017 PEN America Literary Gala Benefit, but didn't know the details. Oleg Sentsov was honored with the 2017 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.

"During our short conversation, I managed to share a brief story about Oleg Sentsov – about his case, family, Crimea, forced citizenship [Russian citizenship in annexed Crimea] and his two children left behind in the annexed peninsula," he wrote on Facebook.

Oleg Sentsov was 20 years in a maximum-security prison

Nayyem says that the actress suggested that they first take a picture together.

"Later, after the awards ceremony, when the video about Oleg's nomination was shown, she broke down into tears. After the ceremony, we talked again. The actress said she's ready to back the PEN-center campaign to free Oleg," added the Ukrainian MP.

On August 25, 2015 the North Caucasus Military District Court of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, sentenced the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov to 20 years in a maximum-security prison and sentenced Ukrainian activist Oleksandr Kolchenko to 10 years in jail. Sentsov is accused of organizing a terrorist group in Crimea, and Kolchenko is accused of participating in it.