After two acquittals and a sentence much shorter than that demanded, new measures were taken in Russia to secure a long sentence against world-renowned historian of the Soviet Terror, Yury DMITRIEV.
One, the appeal hearing last September at the Karelian High Court came before Alla Rats, a judge whose bias had already been demonstrated. Two, a state-appointed lawyer was brought in, although Dmitriev’s lawyer was in quarantine and had asked for a postponement. It was this appeal hearing that added an unprecedented 10 years to the original sentence and revoked the acquittals.
The International Memorial Society has now approached the Russian Federal Bar Association, asking them to initiate disciplinary proceedings over the appointed lawyer, Artyom Cherkasov. The latter agreed to act despite Dmitriev’s objection and the fact that Dmitriev had his own lawyer, Victor Anufriev, who had been on the case since Dmitriev’s arrest in December 2016.
For a third time Yury DMITRIEV is on trial in Petrozavodsk, before a different judge and prosecutor. There has been a second attempt to replace Yury DMITRIEV’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev.
On Friday, 2 April 2021, the third trial of Yury Dmitriev was resumed at the Petrozavodsk City Court (the proceedings were halted for several months while the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg considered the case). Two times the Karelian High Court has rejected favourable verdicts by the court in Petrozavodsk and returned the charges for re-examination.
Lawyers from Memorial have submitted an appeal to the court in Strasbourg, asserting that the judicial proceedings in the DMITRIEV case have violated four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The prosecution of Yury Dmitriev, head of Memorial in Karelia, is unusual in several respects.
One, the investigation and hearings have already lasted four years. The case has stirred public interest not only in Russia but also abroad, making it one of the most discussed trials of recent years.