A Russian court has sentenced Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov to 20 years in prison for plotting terrorist acts in Crimea.
The award-winning director, best known for his film Gamer, was arrested in May 2014 shortly after conflict between Ukraine and Russian-supported forces broke out. He is accused of setting up a terrorist group and plotting attacks on infrastructure and pro-Russian groups. In particular, prosecutors say he was involved in two attempted arson attacks in the Crimean city of Simferopol, ordered by Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector. He was sentenced in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Mr Sentsov denies the charges against him, and claims that he was beaten in jail for 24 hours in an attempt to force a confession.
Human rights groups have condemned the verdict, while top directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach have signed a petition calling for Mr Sentsov’s release. While the Ukrainian government has claimed that he is being punished for being a Crimea-based pro-Ukrainian activist, the Russian authorities deny that he is a political prisoner.
Mr Sentsov is one of a number of Ukrainian citizens being held in Russia. The best known of these is Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot accused of helping to murder two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine, who is also facing trial.