A destiny of political prisoners
On July 28, 2018, Global Affairs Canada issued the statement reaffirming their attitude towards Russia’s annexation of Crimea and calling for the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia.
The Canadian foreign agency calls the Crimean integration into Russia illegal, violating “the international rules-based order and the vital international norm that no country can change another country’s borders by force,” and forcible, “including through the opening of the Kerch Strait Bridge in May 2018.” Canada restates its support for the people of Ukraine and its commitment to the Ukraine’s sovereignty. As a potential solution to the problem, the country considers international pressure on Russia together with economic sanctions.
For the most part, the current statement is connected with the Ukrainian political prisoners in general and Oleg Sentsov in particular. Having been arrested in Crimea on May 11, 2014, he was found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia. On May 14, 2018, Sentsov went on a hunger strike, urging the Russian government to release all “illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.” Canada, in turn, declares that it does not recognize Russian jurisdiction in Crimea. This Canadian statement might be seen as the first official comment on a widespread #FreeSentsov campaign with the exception of Global Affairs Canada’s concerns on the issue posted through their official Twitter on July 12, 2018.
Moreover, the statement refers to “the mistreatment of the Crimean Tatar population” and “severe human rights violations” in Crimea with “arbitrary arrests, torture, detentions and disappearances” among other things, “documented last fall by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.”