President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has responded to a request sent by the Open Dialogue Foundation regarding the case of film director Oleg Sentsov and Ukrainian activists arrested in Crimea and illegally transferred to Russia, where they were charged with alleged participation in a terrorist group and preparation of terrorist acts.
Schulz expressed deep concern about the possible use of torture against the activists during their detention in Crimea and their illegal transfer to Moscow. Another source of concern — as stated by the EP president — is the denial of Ukrainian consular assistance to the detainees, who are no longer considered Ukrainians by the Russian authorities following Crimea’s annexation.
As Schulz stressed, the European Parliament has already repeatedly reiterated its condemnation of Crimea’s illegal annexation by the Russian authorities and remains firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. At the same time, he pointed out that the EP deplores the deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea and is deeply concerned by the reported cases of enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and alleged use of violence and ill-treatment against civil activists, political opponents and journalists in Crimea. “I would like to reassure you that the situation in Ukraine remains a very big concern for EU and for the European Parliament in particular,” he added.
Schulz also cited the measures taken so far on the Ukraine case, including the EP debate on Ukraine and the resolution dated 17 July 2014. On 11 and 16 July, sanctions were also extended, including adding 11 persons to the list of persons subject to asset freezes and visa bans.
In conclusion, Schulz thanked the Foundation for bringing to his attention the case of Oleg Sentsov and pledged to monitor the filmmaker’s case and further monitor the human rights situation in Crimea.