21 Sep

Human rights activist of the Solidarity Committee spoke at the UN meeting wearing a “Free Sentsov and Kolchenko!” T-shirt

Human rights activist Maksym Butkevytch, member of “Solidarity Committee” – an initiative group of support of the Crimean political prisoners (Sentsov-Kolchenko), delivered a report on the situation in Ukraine in the Geneva office of UN. He wore a shirt with a special call on the release of the Crimean political prisoners Oleg Sentsov and Alexander Kolchenko, who have been illegally held in Russia since 2014.

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Human rights activist Maksym Butkevytch, member of “Solidarity Committee” – an initiative group of support of the Crimean political prisoners (Sentsov-Kolchenko), delivered a report on the situation in Ukraine in the Geneva office of UN. He had a shirt on himwith a special callon the release of the Crimean political prisoners Oleg Sentsov and Alexander Kolchenko, who have been illegally held in Russia since 2014.

In his interview with Krym.Realii, Butkevytch noted that these T-shirts should be worn at international events, as the human rights-themed prints are a good reminder of the issue of Crimean political prisoners.

For more than a year, “Solidarity Committee” has been distributing the T-shirts dedicated to the “Crimean hostages,” calling for their release and printing the web address of the site dedicated to the issue. This is not self-promotion: these t-shirts are used to collect donations to support children and the families of the hostages, and most importantly – tore mind about Oleg Sentsov and Alexander Kolchenko and the need to support them, to remind about the actions of the occupation regime,” said Maksym Butkevytch.

He added that human rights defenders have repeatedly pointed out that only an international campaign of solidarity can bring hope for the release of political prisoners.

“We see more and more people in these T-shirts, are not only in Kyiv. For example, the head of the Green faction of the European Parliament Rebecca Harms recently told me how she got this T-shirt; European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitrios Avramopoulos asked to send him such a T-shirt. This T-shirt is not just a piece of clothing, it is a statement. It is difficult to imagine a more appropriate site for wearing this t-shirt than an event at the United Nations office, visited by Russian and Ukrainian journalists,” he noted.

Earlier, on September 20, in his report Maksym Butkevytch said that the Russian annexation of the Crimea and the subsequent move of the people from Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine, attracted interest of the Ukrainians to the culture and religion of the Crimean Tatars.

19-20 September, a seminar on “Role of media in fighting against the propaganda of national, racial, and religious hatred” was held in Geneva office of the UN.

August 25, 2015 the North Caucasus District Military Court sentenced Oleg Sentsov to 20 years in a strict regime colony. Sentsov is accused of preparing terrorist attack, planning bombings at the “Eternal Flame” memorial and the monument to Lenin in Simpefopol. Russian investigators accused Alexander Kolchenko, Crimean activist, anti-fascist, of cooperation with Sentsov. Kolchenko was sentenced to 10 years of the colony.

Alexander Kolchenko and Oleg Sentsov pleaded not guilty. Human rights organizations believe these unfounded accusation and politically motivated. Russian human rights center “Memorial” has recognized them as political prisoners.

Krym.Realii (20 September 2016)