Similar articles

Russian FSB detains Ukrainian film producer in Simferopol’Terrorism’ trials for Crimean film director and other opponents of annexationRussia’s FSB launches first Crimean show trialRussia: 5-year sentence for human rights defender Zarema BagavutdinovaRussia claims Ukraine and Crimean Tatar Mejlis organized ‘act of sabotage’ in occupied Crimea Russia launches a new trial of Crimeans over a terrorist attack that never happenedFirst hearing in Russia’s new ‘Ukrainian spy trial’ ends with an ambulance Russia blocks access to Ukrainian jailed for 6 years for social media post Heartbreaking letter from Ukrainian pensioner sentenced by Russian occupiers to 12 years for ‘treason’Russia seeks to imprison tenth Crimean journalist for 18 yearsValentin Vyhivsky: "Either they free me, or I’ll return to my Homeland “by heavenly express”Russian prosecutor demands14-19-year sentences against four Crimean Tatar political prisoners From armed terror to cruel torment of the children of Crimean Tatar political prisonersKremlin"s Ukrainian political prisoner issues impassioned plea to US State Secretary BlinkenHow Russia fakes ‘proof’ to imprison Crimean Tatar civic activists and journalists Terrorism charges in Russia – for a social media repost and for supporting Ukraine Russian military chief claims Ukraine is planning ‘provocation’ for military attack on occupied Crimea Ukrainian political prisoner held in vermin-ridden basement without vital medication “Chandeliers like in a theatre” for Russia’s conveyor belt trials of Crimean Tatar and other Ukrainian political prisoners Former Kremlin hostages put release of all Ukrainian political prisoners on the agenda

Ukrainian film producer facing Russian ‘terrorism’ charges


Filmmakers have come out in defence of Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian film producer and EuroMaidan activist who, as reported, was arrested in Simferopol on May 11 and is understood to be accused by Russia’s FSB of ’planning a terrorist act’.

The following is slightly adapted from their report.

The head of one of Germany’s leading regional film funds is calling for the release of a Ukrainian director seized from his home last week by Russian secret service officials.  Kirsten Niehuus, head of Medienboar Berlin Brandenburg, says director Oleg Sentsov was arrested at his home in Simferopol, Crimea and accused of organizing a terrorist attack.  Niehuus, whose fund is among the European backers of Sentsov’s new feature Rhino,  says Sentsov’s only "crime" is his opposition to the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

An ethnic Russian, Sentsov had been involved in supporting the Euro Maidan protests in Kiev during the winter.  More recently he was involved in helping Ukrainian military officers who do not support Russia’s annexation of Crimea leave the territory.

Sentsov was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning by officials from Russia’s Federal Security Service. He sent a message to a local journalist in the early hours that day but has not been heard from since.

Members of the Ukrainian Filmmakers Union, which has protested his detention along with the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, understand he has been accused of organizing a terrorist attack and had been flown to Moscow to face trial there. He is believed to have been taken to the city’s notorious 19th century Lefortovo prison.

Niehuus said: "It is extremely scary; if there are rules, however stupid, you may make a choice about your actions. But when the rules change day to day that makes it impossible for any thinking person."

She first met the award-winning director at the Odessa International Film Festival, where she was impressed by his debut feature Gaamer. Medienboard agreed to support Rhino after German producer Alexander Ris picked up the project.

Hrovje Hribar, head of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, which is also supporting the film, told The Hollywood Reporter that industry professionals need to raise awareness for Senstov’s plight at the highest levels.

"This is very disturbing news, " he said.

Sentsov, who denies any wrongdoing, is due to be defended in Moscow by Dmitry Denze, a Russian lawyer who worked on Pussy Riot case.

Ukrainian filmmakers say they believe Sentsov’s arrest is part of a campaign of intimidation against those who disagree with Russian’s annexation of Crimea last March. Around two dozen other people have also been detained.

British producer,  Mike Downey, deputy chair of the European Film Academy, who helped broker funding for Rhino and is currently working with Sentsov’s producer,  Olga Zhurzhenko, issued a statement. 

“Sentsov is one many people arrested in Crimea and carted off to Moscow on trumped up charges. I would hope that we can use his position as a public figure to draw attention to this. I urge our brave friends and colleagues in the Russian industry to speak out, " Downey said. 

If convicted, Sentsov faces up to 10 years in prison under Russian law, the minimum term for those involved in terrorism.

The filmmaker’s wife and two children, who are still in Crimea, are understood to have been moved by family friends to a safe place.

Russia’s state-run media has been silent on the case, but opposition and independent news outlets have expressed support for the jailed director.

"Crimea seems to have become a testing ground for a crackdown on those with dissident opinions, " online magazine reported. "And what is happening is really a terrorist attack; one of its victims is Oleg Sentsov."

 Share this