A rare moment of justice from a Russian court has proved all too fleeting, writes Halya Coynash. On 14 June, Karelia’s High Court overturned the acquittal in April of world-renowned historian Yury Dmitriev and sent the ‘case’ back for retrial. Dmitriev’s imprisonment and trial had been widely viewed as politically-motivated persecution, and his acquittal – the only possible verdict after the charges were totally demolished by experts.
On Thursday, 14 June, after deliberations lasting over one and a half hours, the Supreme Court of Karelia overturned the acquittal of Yury DMITRIEV on charges of child pornography (Article 242.2) and depraved acts with a minor (Article 135).
This was reported by the news website 7×7, based on what it was told after the hearing by Victor Anufriev, Dmitriev’s defence attorney since December 2016.
The court based its judgement, in part, on a statement made by Dmitriev’s adopted daughter Natasha during a psychiatric examination following the acquittal in April 2018 that she was “upset and disgraced”. This statement, said Anufriev, was obtained under duress.
The case materials will now be returned to the Petrozavodsk City Court for re-examination by a new judge.
Three bits of advice that may be of help to those travelling to Petrozavodsk for the hearing tomorrow, writes Maria Ruzina:
- the court hearing on Thursday, 14 June, at 3 pm will take place not on Krasnaya St as we had imagined. Yury Alexeyevich DMITRIEV says it will be held at 27 Kirov Street. That’s where the Supreme Court of Karelia is actually located.
- If you arrive during the night or early mornring, it will be difficult to find a cup of coffee, a bun and wifi. Locals have even told me there are no all-night cafes in the centre of Petrozavodsk.
- In the Brusnika [blueberry] hostel at 34 Antikainen Street, 15 minutes’ walk from the courthouse, a bed in the dormitory costs 420 roubles. It’s clean, quiet and the internet works without interruption. That’s where I’m writing from, in fact.
For those who can’t travel to Petrozavodsk, let’s hold solitary pickets in our towns and cities. All you need is to post a photo showing a placard held up against the local sights. Write on it #Greetings to Dmitriev. What do you think? Are you ready? Natalia Sivohina, St Petersburg.On 14 June, writes Inga Prosvetova, the World Cup opens in Russia and solitary pickets are prohibited. But our heroes can always find a loophole: so far there’s no ban on decorating your clothes with slogans (so long as these exclude obscenities).
If you add them by hand on the morning of 14 June, toothpaste or marker pens will be enough and last the day out on your jeans.
Be careful, warns Natalya Dyomina. A court has just imposed a 10,000 rouble fine for a solitary picket in support of Oleg SENTSOV. The judge was not prepared to listen to any legal argument.
On 5 May, YURY DMITRIEV and his defence attorney Victor Anufriev were photographed on the banks of Lake Onega, east of St Petersburg.
On Thursday 14 June, the Supreme Court of Karelia will hear several appeals in the Dmitriev case (his defence lawyer Victor Anufriev told the Karelian internet newspaper Stolitsa na Onego). Anufriev intends to secure the dismissal of the charge that his client unlawfully possessed parts of a weapon.
The Petrozavodsk city prosecutor’s office has also submitted an appeal against the verdict of the City Court. The conclusions drawn by the court do not reflect the factual materials of the case, says the prosecutor’s office. The Petrozavodsk city prosecutor Yelena Askerova considers that a number of rules of the Criminal Procedural Code were infringed, as well. The appeal calls for the acquittal to be quashed. In court, Askerova demanded nine years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony for YURY DMITRIEV.
On 12 May 2018, YURY DMITRIEV was among the recipients of the yearly awards made by the Moscow Helsinki Group. Like other laureates, he wore a black teeshirt demanding “Freedom for Oyub Titiyev!” the detained head of Memorial in Chechnya.
(The photograph shows Dmitriev with fellow laureate Victoria Gromova
from Vladimir, Central Russia, in the courtyard behind Teatr.doc)
On 22 April, the Karelian edition of the Rossiya TV Channel’s “Events of the Week” programme included a brief item, mentioning that “this summer” there would be fresh investigations of the burials at the Sandarmokh memorial complex near Medvezhegorsk.
(For those who know Russian,
the item begins five minutes into this half-hour broadcast)
Periodically, the suggestion that YURY DMITRIEV may have misidentified those buried at Sandarmokh or, rather, that the dead there also include Soviet prisoners of war captured and executed by the Finns in 1941-1944, has been given coverage in State-controlled Russian media and, even, in certain Finnish media outlets. Continue reading
During his Final Words to the court, YURY DMITRIEV did not launch a blistering denunciation of those who had obstructed his work for years, and persecuted him after he was arrested and charged with child pornography and corruption of a minor in December 2016.
He read the court a letter from his adopted daughter Natasha. Then he presented it to Marina Nosova, the judge at his trial.
7×7 – Karelia
13 April 2018
The grandmother of YURY DMITRIEV’s adopted daughter Natasha has appealed to the Supreme Court of Karelia against his acquittal. This was first reported yesterday on the Petrozavodsk Calling [R] website. In a telephone conversation with 7×7, the woman confirmed that she had submitted an appeal to the higher court. She refused to explain why she had done so and put down the phone. Continue reading
A formal appeal was received today by the Petrozavodsk City Court from Yelena Askerova, the city prosecutor. She acted for the prosecution at the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, who was accused of preparing child pornography and the unlawful possession of a firearm. Our website received this information from the court.
Dmitriev, the head of Memorial in Karelia, was found not guilty of the main charges. He was sentenced to 2½ years restricted liberty after being convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm. Taking into account the months he had already spent in custody, the historian was faced with only three more months to serve. During that period, he must report to the prison every fortnight.
13 April 2018