Prague, Aug 21 (CTK) – The Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA) has joined an international call in support of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, 39, who is charged with the preparation of terrorist attacks in Crimea, Nikola Lorinczova, on behalf of the Academy, told CTK Friday.

The verdict in the Sentsov case is to be issued next week. The prosecutor has proposed 23 years in prison.

The trial of Sentsov has stirred up broad protests abroad. Amnesty International as well as the film unions in Ukraine and Russia have called for his release.

The European Film Academy has sent an open letter to Russian supreme political officials demanding that the charges be withdrawn because of insufficient evidence and Sentsov released.

The Polish Film Academy, and most recently also the CFTA have joined the appeal. The initiative has been supported by 90 CFTA members headed by Ivo Mathe, Jan Mattlach and Pavel Strnad, from the CFTA board.

Sentsov has been charged with having committed terrorist attacks in Crimea that Russia annexed last year.

According to the indictment, members of a group formed by Sentsov organised two attacks on Russian facilities in Crimea and they also planned to destroy a Lenin monument in May 2014.

Sentsov denies the charges and he does not recognise the court’s authority and the validity of the forthcoming verdict either. His trial started last month.

Two alleged accomplices of his were sentenced to seven years in prison each, the third one faces 12 years if found guilty.

The prosecution claims that Sentsov is a member of the Right Sector Ukrainian nationalist organisation that is banned in Russia.

Sentsov dismissed it, but he follows the Euromaidan Ukrainian movement that was behind the toppling of pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych last year.

In the past days, renowned film-makers stood up for Sentsov in a second letter sent to the Kremlin. It was signed by Pedro Almodovar, Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland, Krzysztof Zanussi, Aki Kaurismaeki and Andrzej Wajda.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has also called on Moscow to release Sentsov this year.