The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, August 26, 2019

Russia court jails Ukrainian filmmaker for 'terrorism'
Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov reacts inside a defendants' cage as he listens to the verdict at a military court in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on August 25, 2015. A Russian military court on August 25 sentenced a Ukrainian filmmaker to 20 years in a strict-regime prison colony on terror charges in a trial condemned by Kiev, Western rights groups and top film directors. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI VENYAVSKY.

By: Yury Maltsev

ROSTOV-ON-DON (AFP).- A Russian military court on Tuesday sentenced a Ukrainian filmmaker to 20 years in a prison colony on terror charges in a trial condemned by Kiev, Western rights groups and top film directors.

Oleg Sentsov, 39, was convicted of masterminding arson attacks on pro-Kremlin party offices in Crimea after Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine in March last year, and for plotting further attacks, including a scheme to blow up a Lenin statue in the main Crimean city of Simferopol.

His fellow Ukrainian defendant Alexander Kolchenko, a 25-year-old activist who also opposed Russia's annexation of Crimea, was sentenced to 10 years after he too was found guilty of taking part in the attacks.

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter feud over Moscow's takeover of Crimea and its support for the ongoing pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Sentsov defiantly flicked a victory sign, and he and Kolchenko sang the Ukrainian national anthem inside their glass enclosure after the verdict at a court in southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Twitter: "Hold on, Oleg. The time will come when those who organised the trial against you will find themselves in the dock."

Height of injustice
The two men, who have been held in Russia since last May, were tried as Russians, despite never having applied for citizenship. 

Sentsov's lawyer Dmitry Dinze said his client would appeal the sentence, which was delivered at one of the only two Russian military courts authorised to hear terrorism cases. 

"It's the height of injustice and lawlessness," Russia's TASS state news agency quoted Dinze as saying. 

The sentence was condemned by a variety of Western officials, film directors and international organisations.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini criticised the trial as in "breach of international law and elementary standards of justice."

The United States also condemned Sentsov's jailing and called for Russia to immediately release him and Kolchenko.

"This is a clear miscarriage of justice," US State Department spokesman John Kirby said. 

Rights group Amnesty International called the long sentences a "blatant injustice after a patently unfair trial marred by credible allegations of torture."

Acclaimed filmmakers from across the globe, including Spain's Pedro Almodovar and Britain's Mike Leigh, have written to Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing concern over Sentsov's prosecution.

Russian film director Andrei Zvyagintsev, whose latest film "Leviathan" won a Golden Globe, wrote in a letter published in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Monday that it was "monstrous to jail a young man who is a promising filmmaker".

Zvyagintsev had called for Russia to "either release him or only try him for what you can prove irrefutably".

Beaten and threatened 
Sentsov had his debut feature "Gamer" shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2012.

In custody, Sentsov was beaten and threatened with rape and murder and was "suffocated to the point of fainting" with a plastic bag over his head, Dinze said in October.

Investigators refused to open a probe, saying bruises on the filmmaker's back and legs were because he had taken part in sado-masochistic sex before his arrest, the lawyer said.

Defence lawyers said witnesses were tortured to produce testimony implicating the pair in activities involving Ukrainian far-right organisation Right Sector, which is banned in Russia.

Two alleged accomplices have already been jailed for seven years after confessing, but both refused to testify as prosecution witnesses in Sentsov's trial, with one saying he had earlier given testimony under duress.

"Both Ukrainians were taken hostage on Ukrainian territory, transported to and imprisoned in Russia, and had Russian citizenship imposed on them against their wills."

Sentsov had his debut feature "Gamer" shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival in 2012.

In his final trial statement, the up-and-coming filmmaker condemned Moscow's rule.

"Your propaganda is very good, but there are also people like you who understand very well that there are no 'fascists' in Ukraine, that Crimea was taken illegally and that your troops are in Donbass," he said of the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.

Putin flatly denies any involvement in the conflict, and insists that Russian soldiers in the war zone are "volunteers" or off-duty servicemen.

Sentsov and Kolchenko are among 11 Ukrainians held in Russian prisons whom Kiev considers to be political prisoners, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Last week, Russia sentenced Estonian intelligence officer Eston Kohver to 15 years in prison, although Estonia maintains he was kidnapped at gunpoint on its territory by Moscow's FSB security service. 

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

August 26, 2015

Taiwan boy accidentally damages $1.5 million painting by Italian artist Paolo Porpora

Stimulate your senses as Tate Sensorium, a new immersive art experience, is unveiled at Tate Britain

Bob Dylan's never-before-seen draft for 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' offered at Sotheby's

Islamic State group publishes images of Palmyra's Baal Shamin temple destruction

The bongs are wrong on London's Big Ben; Mysteriously running fast over the past fortnight

Taschen publishes new book of Polaroids, many of them never seen before, by Andy Warhol

Newly discovered portrait of Winston Churchill to be displayed at 20/21 British Art Fair

'Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby' opens at California State University

Metropolitan Museum of Art to launch The Met Breuer in March 2016 expanding art program

New book raises questions about weapons dealer E.G. Buehrle's Nazi-era art

New exhibitions of works by Erin Shirreff and Mona Hatoum open at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

Crocker Art Museum acquires significant 18th century portrait by Alexandre Roslin

Winterthur welcomes Dr. Marie-Stephanie Delamaire as Associate Curator of Fine Art

Nevada Museum of Art presents the first major art historical survey of Lake Tahoe

The Canadian Centre for Architecture presents 'The SAAL Process: Housing in Portugal 1974-1976'

Horace Ballard joins Birmingham Museum of Art as new Curator of Education

Galeria Jaqueline Martins opens exhibition of works by Lais Myrrha

Iranian epic 'Muhammad' aims to change Islam's image

Spanish artist's humorous and grotesque film on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Rizzoli publishes first comprehensive catalogue on the African objects collected by Dr. Albert C. Barnes

Russia court jails Ukrainian filmmaker for 'terrorism'

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Newly restored Titian's Rape of Europa set to be reunited with accompanying works

2.- Krannert Art Museum acquires complete works of conceptual gay photographer Hal Fischer

3.- The Met's Rock & Roll exhibition reaches a milestone 500,000 visitors

4.- A new species of giant penguin has been identified from fossils

5.- Fondation Phi pour l'art contemporain exhibits works by pioneering artist Yoko Ono

6.- Comprehensive exhibition of Elfie Semotan's work on view at C/O Berlin

7.- 'Easy Rider' star Peter Fonda dead at 79

8.- Major exhibition explores the romantic fascination with the Scottish Highlands

9.- Meet the Ercolines, the Woodstock lovebirds whose hug made history

10.- Dallas Museum of Art re-opens European Galleries after total reinstallation

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful