Russia: Film director sentenced 20 years in prison

28 August 2015


A Russian court has sentenced the acclaimed Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov to 20 years in a maximum-security prison on multiple terrorism charges.

The 39-year-old director denied all charges against him, saying they were politically motivated, and told the court on 19 August 2015 that a “trial by occupiers cannot be fair by definition”.

Heather McGill, Eurasia researcher at Amnesty International, described the trial as “fatally flawed” and noted that allegations of torture and other ill-treatment alleged by Sentsov and a main witness were ignored by the court.

The sentence was handed down after the North Caucasus District Military Court, located in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, on 25 August 2015 found Oleh Sentsov guilty of establishing a terrorist group, organisation of two terrorist attacks and an attempted terrorist act, as well as an attempt to illegally acquire explosives.

Oleh Sentsov’s lawyers said the verdict would be appealed.

An appeal by the European Film Academy on 19 August 2015 included the signatures of 15 filmmakers, including Britain’s Ken Loach and Germany’s Wim Wenders, saying they were “deeply worried” by the prosecutions.

Oleh Sentsov’s co-defendant Oleksandr Kolchenko was sentenced to a 10 year prison term.
The two men sang the Ukrainian national anthem at the court hearing in Rostov-on-Don.

Ukrainian Defendants Sentenced In Russia, Sing National Anthem

» Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty – 25 August 2015:
Russian Court Sentences Ukrainian Filmmaker To 20 Years On Terror Charges

» The Guardian – 20 August 2015:
Ukrainian film-maker tells Russian court he will ‘suffer or die’ for his beliefs
“Oleg Sentsov, arrested after Crimea protests, says he was tortured before being charged with terrorism offences his lawyers say are imaginary”

» European Film Academy petition:
Help Us to Help Oleg Sentsov!
Add your name to the EFA letter

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