MOSCOW (AP) — The guilty verdict Tuesday for Crimean filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a Russian maximum-security prison for an alleged terror conspiracy, follows a plethora of recent Russian trials that are widely seen as warnings to society not to question its Kremlin rulers.
Here's a look at some other prominent cases in Russia that critics have called show trials:
ALLEGEDLY STEALING TIMBER
Anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has had problems with Russian authorities after he started blogging about corruption at Russia's biggest state-owned companies. His legal problems multiplied as he spearheaded the anti-government, anti-Vladimir Putin protest movement in 2011. In his first trial in 2013, Navalny was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding a struggling timber company in the Kirov region, where Navalny used to work as an adviser to the governor. The damage that prosecutors claimed amounted to the company's entire annual production, suggesting that Navalny stole everything it had.
Hours after Navalny was taken in custody, several thousand people took to the streets in Moscow to protest the verdict. Navalny was released on a suspended sentence the following day.
Navalny was then tried along with his brother, a former postal executive, and convicted of defrauding a French cosmetics company by offering "a disadvantageous contract." The head of the French company left Russia soon after filing the complaint against Navalny, and the company insisted at the trial there was nothing criminal about that contract.
On Dec. 30, 2014, Navalny was given a suspended sentence of 3½ years while his brother, a father of two small children, was sent to prison, which was widely seen as retribution by the Kremlin and a signal that the families of government opponents were no longer safe.
PUSSY RIOT CHURCH PROTEST
In perhaps the most colorful trial of recent years, three female musicians in their 20s were convicted of hooliganism "motivated by religious hatred" and sent to prison.
The Pussy Riot punk collective — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — had staged several daring art performances before they went to Moscow's main cathedral in February 2012 to stage a "punk prayer," pleading to the Virgin Mary "to rid Russia from Putin" — just weeks before his re-election as president. They were sentenced to three years in prison, though Samutsevich was released on suspended sentence a few months later.
Prosecutors insisted that Pussy Riot trampled upon religious beliefs of millions of Russians. The women said their protest was to raise concern about increasingly close ties between the state and the church in Russia. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina spent nearly two years in prison before they were granted amnesty on the eve of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
TAX EVASION POSTHUMOUS TRIAL
Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was convicted of tax evasion in 2013, four years after his death.
An investigation by Russia's presidential council on human rights concluded he was severely beaten and denied medical treatment for pancreatitis during the 11 months he was held in prison awaiting trial. Prison doctor Dmitry Kratov, the only person to face trial in the case, was acquitted.
To deflect the blame for his treatment and his lengthy pre-trial detention, law enforcement officials re-opened the investigation in order to portray Magnitsky as a dangerous criminal. After a speedy probe, the case was sent to court, where proceedings went on for months with the defendant's metal cage standing empty.
In July 2013, Magnitsky was convicted and sentenced to nine years in jail. Amnesty International called the prosecution — Russia's first posthumous trial — "deeply sinister."
ARCTIC 30 GREENPEACE PROTEST
It started as a typical Greenpeace protest. The environmental group's Arctic Sunrise ship sailed in September 2013 to the Russian section of the Kara Sea to protest an offshore Russian drilling rig in the Arctic. Days later, Russian border guards in balaclavas boarded the ship and arrested everyone on board. Instead of being fined, the activists were charged with piracy, a grave crime carrying a lengthy prison sentence.
Thirty activists from across the world including a news photographer were kept in provincial jails before the charges against them were changed to hooliganism and they were transferred to St. Petersburg for a trial. Less than two months before Russia was to host the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the entire crew received a presidential pardon and all were released after 100 days in detention.
Thirty-three people were charged with rioting or inciting riots in May 2012 on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on the eve of Putin's inauguration to a third term as president. Twenty people were sentenced to prison terms of up to 4½ years. One had his sentence commuted, another was sent for psychiatric treatment, while 13 others were granted amnesty. Several defendants remain under house arrest.
The defendants included political activists, army officers, students and pensioners. Prosecutors claimed that the riots were masterminded by a Georgian politician and perpetrated by a group of hard-line political activists. Those who went to the May 6 protest testified that it was a peaceful gathering until riot police moved in. Some of those charged with disobeying police orders said they were trying to protect others who were being beaten. In the most bizarre evidence in court, one protester was accused of throwing a lemon at a policeman, while another officer suffered "dental enamel damage."
The scope of the trial, the diversity of the defendants and the fact that investigators are still searching for rioters suggests the Kremlin meant to make an example out of it.