By: Daniel McElroy

Oleg Sentsov is seen inside of the defendant’s cage in a military courtroom. Photo by AFP.

After spending most of the past two years in a Siberian penal colony, imprisoned Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been transferred to the city of Chelyabinsk via a pre-trial detention facility in Irkutsk. The reason for the move is not immediately clear.

Sentsov, who was first detained in 2015 after the Russian annexation of Crimea, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in August of that year. It was not until September 9, 2017, however, that word broke he had been removed from the harsh conditions of a Yakutsk maximum security prison camp and moved to the Irkutsk Pre-Trial Detention Facility No. 1.

On September 11, soon after a group of activists visiting the prison from the Irkutsk Human Rights Council discovered that Sentsov was inside, he was moved again—this time to Chelyabinsk. He had told the visiting activists that he was not sure himself why he had been transferred from Yakutsk in the first place.

For at least one day after the transfer, Sentsov’s lawyers and family were unaware of his whereabouts, publishing in a statement that the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation had not provided them any information. By September 12, the Irkutsk Human Rights Council had received word from authorities that Sentsov had arrived safely in Chelyabinsk.

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