Russian Supreme Court rejects appeal by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov

Russian Supreme Court rejects appeal by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov
Still from The Gamer, dir. by Oleg Sentsov (2012)

25 November 2015

The military division of Russia’s Supreme Court has upheld Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov’s 20-year prison sentence.

The award-winning director, best known for his film Gamer (2012), was sentenced to 20 years in prison in August by a court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, accused of plotting terrorist acts in Crimea.

“The result was predictable,” said Sentsov’s lawyer Dmitry Dinze, adding that the defence will appeal the sentence again.

The European Film Academy (EFA), which has been campaigning for Sentsov’s release, made an unsuccessful last-minute appeal to Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov to intervene on Sentsov’s behalf.

“The European Film Academy regrets very much this decision by the Russian Supreme Court.[...] We will now escalate our campaign to keep the subject of Oleg Sentsov on the agenda until he is released. The fight goes on,” said Mike Downey, deputy chair of the EFA.

In a response to another appeal by Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski on Monday, Mikhalkov stated that he would “like to think that everything the defence says about Sentsov is true and can justify his case”. He also expressed his belief in the need to “seek fairness and objectivity” in the investigation.

Sentsov 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.

Source: Hollywood Reporter and The Moscow Times