Filmmaker sentenced to 20 years in jail for plotting attacks

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in planning terrorist attacks in Crimea.

The trial was met with international condemnation while leading film industry figures and organizations had previously signed a letter urging the Russian authorities to scrap the trial.

The filmmaker said that he had been tortured and had a bag placed over his head, while being beaten up repeatedly to confess his crime. Amnesty International, the EU and the U.S condemned the trial, which has been considered a “farce” and on-par with Cold War era prosecutions.

The decision by Russia to jail the filmmaker over his alleged involvement in a plot to blow up railways and public monuments has added additional strain to ties between Moscow and the West.

Despite the setback, Russia has been traditionally pro-Hollywood and a big consumer of foreign, often American produced films. President Putin recently stepped in to prevent a ban on Hollywood films following the sanctions placed on Russia by the EU and the U.S.

It is believed that the trial may have been carried out to secure a prisoner release exchange with Ukraine although this is unclear. Sentsov’s co-defendant Alexander Kolchenko was also sentenced to 10 years in prison.