During a joint meeting with the Human Rights Council of Karelia SERGEI KRIVENKO, a member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, announced that members of the Council’s “Standing Committee on Precedents” are monitoring the case of Yury Dmitriev, head of the Karelian branch of Memorial, against whom pornography charges have been brought.
The website of the Presidential Council for Human Rights quotes Sergei Krivenko as saying,
“The committee began monitoring the case as soon as the news broke about Yury Dmitriev’s arrest. All Russian citizens are entitled to protection…. Certain groups of people, such as solicitors, lawyers, journalists and human rights activists, stand apart from the rest, and cases involving individual members of these groups should be handled with particular care in order to ensure that they are not being persecuted for their activities.”
Human rights activists who visited Karelia from 8 to 10 February 2017 had discussed the case, said Krivenko, with representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and Dmitriev’s defence team.
“We visited the Prosecutor’s Office and the Child Protection Services, and we met Yury Dmitriev’s lawyer and talked to members of his family. The documents which we saw suggested that the case had been trumped up, to put it mildly. Investigations are now underway, and we very much hope that the forthcoming examination by the court will be impartial.”
According to the information provided by representatives of the agencies in charge of the custody and guardianship of minors, no criticisms were lodged during the entire period the foster child was living with Dmitriev, who acted in the capacity of official guardian; this is confirmed by the exclusively positive testimonials received by the Child Protection Services from the child’s polyclinic and school.
A recipient of the literary prize “Golden Pen of Russia” and a father of three, YURY DMITRIEV is a leading investigator of sites of political repression in the republic of Karelia and neighbouring regions.
He is most famous as the driving force behind the creation of the Sandarmokh memorial complex, the largest in Karelia, built where thousands of political prisoners were executed and buried during the Soviet era. A Day of Remembrance and Mourning is held there every year on 5 August, attended by people from all over the world.
The Human Rights Council had previously asked the Investigative Committee to review the legality of the criminal case instigated against the human rights activist; the latter confirmed that such a review had been set in motion, and that its outcome would be forwarded to the Council.