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Activists trying to locate Ukrainian film director jailed in Russia

His whereabouts in the past two weeks are unknown.

Activists trying to locate Ukrainian film director jailed in Russia
Oleh Sentsov

Members of the public supervisory commission of Russia's Chelyabinsk Region are initiating a campaign to locate Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov sentenced to 20 years in enhanced security prison on charges of terrorism, commission representative Tatyana Shchur has said on Facebook.

She explained that Sentsov's whereabouts since he was sent out from Chelyabinsk two weeks ago have been unknown. She added that she had prepared an appeal to members of similar commissions and Ural and Siberian regions. She also asked Ukrainian officials, journalists and rights activists to join the search.

"We have not heard from him since a text saying that Oleh was sent out from Chelyabinsk came from unknown number in the early hours of 7 March. We are asking you to inquire with your regional penitentiary departments whether Oleh Henadiyovych Sentsov, born 1976, is kept in an isolation ward of a given region," Shchur said.

Usually, there are one or two isolations ward in each Russian region where convicts in transit are placed. Public supervisory commissions know which institutions are used for this, she said.

"Under the law, the Federal Penitentiary Service cannot disclose the whereabouts of a convict in transit at any particular moment. However an isolation ward manager must provide the information on whether a convict is under his roof," she said.

"There is a practice in Russia when political prisoners are driven about the country. For example, they take them to the Pacific Ocean and back. People get exhausted and nobody knows where they are. Law enforcers say they do not have to report on their whereabouts," she told the Ukrinform news agency.

As reported earlier, a court has overruled the previous decision to send another participant in the so-called "Sentsov case", Hennadiy Afanasyev, to a prison in Komi by allowing him to serve his term in his native Crimea.