Russian liberal begs Putin to free convicted terrorist Sentsov but Putin says Ukrainian filmmaker Sentsov convicted for terrorism, not art
Putin also said Sentsov could not be released without a court's decision
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was convicted for terrorism, not for his art, and it is up to the court to decide on his case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
"As for his (Sentsov’s) art, he was convicted not for art, but for taking other functions, as investigative and court bodies say, and particularly in fact he devoted his life to terrorist activity," the president said at the joint session of the Council for Culture and Art and the Council for the Russian Language in St. Petersburg.
"We should rely on that we live in a state governed by the rule of law and such issues should be of course decided by the court system," Putin said. "Everyone has the right to have a position, but nobody condemned him for that," the Russian leader stressed.
At the session, Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov asked the president to release Sentsov taking into consideration the "complex conflict of laws" in his case and calling him "an emotional and simple young man" who could not understand the intricacies of this conflict.
"This is not about his position," Putin said. "It does not matter at all what he thinks about the events in Crimea. This is about his intentions and preparing illegal actions in which as a result our citizens could suffer."
Putin also said Sentsov could not be released without a decision of the court. "Yes, there are certain rules and norms which we can use. But certain conditions are needed for this," he added.
In late August 2015, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, best known for his 2011 film Gamer, was found guilty of terrorism. The North Caucasus district military court in Rostov sentenced him to 20 years behind bars on charges of setting up a terrorist cell in Crimea and plotting terrorist attacks. In the spring of 2014, the group’s participants carried out two terror attacks, setting fire to the offices of Crimea’s Russian Community public organization and a regional office of the Untied Russia party.
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