Russia sentences Ukrainian film director to 20 years for plotting terror acts in Crimea

The North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don has convicted Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov of plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea and has sentenced him to 20 years in a high-security prison, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom on August 25.

The Ukrainian film-maker Oleh Sentsov (right) seen in the North-Caucasian District Military courtroom, Rostov-on-Don, the venue of initial hearings on the acts of terrorism in Crimea. Source: Sergey Pivovarov / RIA Novosti

The North Caucasus District Military Court in Rostov-on-Don has convicted Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov of plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea and has sentenced him to 20 years in a high-security prison, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom on August 25.

Sentsov was found guilty of establishing a terrorist community and leading it, of involvement in two terrorist attacks and preparations for another one, seeking to obtain explosive devices, as well as the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition by an organized group.

The second defendant, Oleksandr Kolchenko, was found guilty of being a terrorist community member and of complicity in a terrorist act. He was sentenced to ten years in a high-security penitentiary.

The convicts began singing the Ukrainian anthem after their verdicts were pronounced. Sentsov then shouted "Glory to Ukraine!". Ukrainian journalists and diplomats present in the courtroom stood up as the anthem was sung. But they sat back down again at the request of court bailiffs.

The conviction may be appealed within ten days.

On May 30, 2014, The Russian Federal Security Service reported the detention of members of the Right Sector terrorist organization that is banned in Russia on suspicion of plotting sabotage and terrorist acts in some cities of Crimea. Oleh Sentsov, Hennadiy Afanasyev and Oleksiy Chirniy were among those detained.

The detainees "as members of a terrorist community [prepared] to carry out explosions in the early hours of May 9, 2014 using improvised explosive devices near the Eternal Fire memorial and the Lenin Monument in Simferopol, and also set fire to the offices of the public organization Russia Community of Crimea and to an office of the United Russia party in Simferopol on April 14, 2014 and April 18, 2014," the Federal Security Service reported.

On December 25, 2014, the Moscow City Court found Afanasyev guilty of a terrorist attack and sentenced him to seven years in a high-security penal colony.

On April 21, 2015, the Northern Caucasus Military District Court in Rostov-on-Don sentenced Chirniy to seven years in a high-security penal colony.

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