A Russian court has sentenced a Ukrainian film-maker to 20 years in jail for conspiring to commit terror attacks in what critics are calling a politically motivated show trial.
The court in Rostov-on-Don said Oleg Sentsov had set up a terror cell in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed last year, and was plotting attacks. He was tried along with local activist Alexander Kolchenko who was jailed for 10 years. As the judgesentenced them, the men sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
Sentov, 39, was a vocal opponent of Russia’s 2014 annexation of the peninsula. Critics dismissed his prosecution as retaliation for his pro-Ukrainian position. Heather McGill at Amnesty International said: “The trial was designed to send a message. It played into Russia’s propaganda war against Ukraine and was redolent of Stalinist-era show trials.”
Sentsov was seized on a street in Crimea’s capital in May 2014 by Russian security officers and taken to Moscow. He pleaded not guilty and insisted a Russian court had no jurisdiction in his case. Russian prosecutors claim both men were plotting to blow up a Lenin monument and behind attempts to burn down offices of two Russia organisations. Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko said. “A time will come when those who set this trial will land in the dock.”