Empty Chairs. Campaign in support of Ukrainian hostages of Kremlin

On the 15th of November at 14:00 in Kyiv, Ukrainian Centre of PEN International and Center for Civil Liberties organizing “Empty Chairs” Campaign in support of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and Crimea, as well as captives in self-proclaimed republics in the East of Ukraine.

Since the late 1980s, initiated by PEN International, empty chair symbolizes an author who cannot be present on a particular event due to imprisonment, detention, disappearance, threat of life or murder. Since then, November 15 is marked as the Day of the Imprisoned Writer internationally, on occasion of which campaigns and performances take place in various cities where PEN operates.

In Ukraine, the campaign has been recently transformed and is traditionally dedicated to all Ukrainian political prisoners in Crimea and Russia, as well as captives in self-proclaimed republics in the East of Ukraine.

This year, not just human rights activists, public and cultural figures, but also politicians and diplomats will be joining the “Empty Chairs” Campaign in Kyiv to express their support to the Ukrainian hostages of the Kremlin and their relatives, as well as to demonstrate the mutual efforts aimed to advance the release of Ukrainian political prisoners and captives.

As of today, about 70 Ukrainians are imprisoned for political reasons in Russia and the occupied Crimea, and more than 100 are in captivity in the ORDLO (Separate Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions).

The “Empty Chairs” Campaign will be held on November 15 at 14:00 on Mikhailivska Square in Kyiv. The participants, in particular, include First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vasyl Bodnar, First Deputy Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine Emine Jeppar, daughter of a journalist and Ukrainian political prisoner Roman Sushchenko – Yulia, actress Irma Vitovska-Vantsa, journalists Andriy Kulykov, Denys Kazansky among others.