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Ukrainian film director sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia

August 25, 2015, 14:27 UTC+3
Fimmaker Oleg Sentsov was found guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks in Crimea
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Oleg Sentsov

Oleg Sentsov

© Mikhail Pochuyev/TASS

ROSTOV-ON-DON, August 25. /TASS/. The North Caucasus District Military Court on Tuesday found Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks in Crimea and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

His accomplice Alexander Kolchenko got ten years in prison.

Ukraine’s Consul Alexander Kovtun and Ukraine’s General Consul in Rostov-on-Don Vitaly Moskalenko were present in the courtroom. Upon hearing the verdict, Sentsov and Kolchenko started singing Ukraine’s national anthem. Representatives of the Ukrainian consulate rose from their seats.

Sentsov’s defense lawyers have said they are going to appeal the verdict, lawyer Dmitry Dinze told journalists.

"It is the height of injustice and arbitrary rule. All materials provided by the council for the defense proved that Oleg Sentsov was practically innocent. A small episode when he just held weapons in his hands does not mean that it really belonged to him," Dinze went on to say.

"We do not think that the Supreme Court is going to change anything. Perhaps, they are going to reduce his sentence by two years. Naturally, we are going to demand that Sentsov and Kolchenko serve their prison terms in Ukraine. But it’s going to be hard because the court considers them to be Russian citizens," Dinze explained. The probability that Sentsov and Kolchenko could be exchanged for someone is fifty-fifty in his view.

According to investigators, Sentsov set up in Crimea a terrorist group, which set two offices on fire in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital, in the spring of 2014 and was planning to blow up a statue of Bolshevik revolution leader Vladimir Lenin.

Sentsov and Kolchenko pleaded not guilty and said the charges were politicized.

Prosecutors had sought a term of 23 years for Sentsov and 12 years for Kolchenko.

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