“They are not used to losing” (Yury Dmitriev)

According to Dmitriev’s lawyer Victor Anufriev, a report by a psychologist pointing to “certain new circumstances” was presented to the Supreme Court of Karelia on 14 June.

“We shall know why the Supreme Court of Karelia took such a decision only in five days’ time,” Anufriev told Lyubov Chizhova of Radio Svoboda, “when the grounds for such a ruling on the appeal have been prepared. Yesterday they only announced the resolution that the sentence had been wholly revoked, as concerns both the acquittal [on two charges] and the conviction [on one charge].

Anufriev: I appealed against the conviction for possession of a firearm. The court revoked that conviction. The prosecutor appealed against the acquittal on the serious charges. The court also revoked the acquittal and sent the case back for a new examination almost from the beginning. We shall learn why it acted in this way when we can read its motivated resolution. We can say now that we were expecting the prosecutor’s office to use every means at their disposal. They used the child for their own purposes. That was predictable.

Why was it so important for the prosecutor’s office to keep Dmitriev on trial?

Anufriev: The charges were signed by Yelena Askerova, the Petrozavodsk city prosecutor. She took part in the trial and upheld the charges. She did not drop the charges and so if she has acted as prosecutor and received an acquittal, she must appeal against it. It has become a widely-reported case. I believe that she faced a choice between losing her job or securing a conviction. That’s why she was prepared to use all and any means.

We did not invite the child to appear in court. We wanted to spare her. We did not want to make her give testimony in support of Dmitriev, because she had said nothing bad about him during the preliminary investigation. They took a different approach. The Petrozavodsk ombudsman for children’s rights became involved and, on instruction from the prosecutor’s office, it seems, he brought the grandmother and child 600 kms to Petrozavodsk. Then they found a psychologist and he wrote down what the girl said.

What action will you take now?

Anufriev: We shall defend our client using legal methods and approaches. A great many expert assessments that clear Yury Dmitriev were added to the case. These, of course, destroyed many of the points made by the prosecution.

Now they want to use such underhand methods to shore up their position: supposedly, certain new circumstances have appeared. Now they will invite the children’s rights ombudsman and this psychologist to appear in court, and will request that new expert assessments be made.

Radio Svoboda, 15 June 2018
(abridged)