January, February, March …

When will the verdict in the Dmitriev case come into force? (and the rulings about International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre)

In posts issued, respectively, on 12 January (“What Next?” [R]) and 14 January 2022 (“What we are doing” [R]), the two Memorial organisations described what lies ahead and how they are coping at present. In the first the Memorial legal team stated that the clock starts ticking once the ruling has been received in written form. Then the accused and their attorneys have a calendar month in which to appeal.

Meanwhile, the European Court in Strasbourg issued an “interim measure” on 29 December 2021 (see text below).

Text of the 29 December 2021 ECtHR interim measure

*

As concerns DMITRIEV his attorney has already submitted an appeal on 27 December 2021, the day of the verdict. This was because the proceedings at the third trial, unlike its two predecessors, were clearly biased in favour of the prosecution. For example, not one of the petitions submitted by Victor Anufriev was accepted.

Memorial has not yet been “liquidated”

Until the rulings issued on 28-29 December 2021 come into force, neither International Memorial nor the Memorial Human Rights Centre (HRC) has been dissolved. The interval between the verdict and its implementation allows, as always, an opportunity for the accused to appeal.

In Petrozavodsk, for instance, the City Court announced on 10 January that it had received Victor Anufriev’s appeal against the way in which his client Yury DMITRIEV was convicted on 27 December and sentenced to 15 years in a strict-regime penal colony.

*

There have been international protests over the threatened closure of Memorial.

On 29 December, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, acting with uncharacteristic speed, applied an emergency interim measure, ordering the Russian government (since 1998 a co-signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights) to halt the abolition of the two organisations.

At 11 pm on 31 December 2021, the foreign ministry of the European Union released a statement supported by the United States, the 27-member European Union, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom calling on Russia “to uphold its international human rights obligations and commitments“.

*

Now is the time to support the petition!

Sign if you have not already done so

if you have, circulate it to all your friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

As of mid-January 2022, the “Hands off Memorial!” petition had attracted 141,415 signatories worldwide. The text is presently available in 13 languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Czech and Hebrew; English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

A “demonstratively unlawful” decision

Interviewed this morning on Echo Moskvy radio station, DMITRIEV’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev since December 2016 said he would appeal against the new sentence.

… this sentence, in my view, is demonstratively unlawful. This is the THIRD time there has been a judicial hearing, and it’s the only occasion on which the court totally ignored every one of my petitions, including those aimed at securing evidence which proved Yury Dmitriev’s innocence.

One hundred per cent (100%) of my petitions were rejected. In other words, the court moved towards a predefined goal and clearly favoured the prosecution.”

Echo Moskvy, 28 December 2021
(10.38 am Moscow Time)

“It’s effing unbelievable” (Prudovsky)

The proceedings at today’s hearing of the Supreme Court effectively placed NKVD officers who had engaged in torture during the Great Terror on the same footing as the officers of today’s FSB, entitling them to the same degree of confidentiality regarding their identity (see “Judges” and Executioners, pt 2).

That was the discouraging conclusion of the Court after hearing Prudovsky’s arguments and statements from the Prosecutor-General’s Office and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Lawyer Marina Agaltsova and plaintiff Sergei Prudovsky (photo Tatyana Britskaya, NG)

Commenting on this result, Prudovsky said, “It’s not healthy to name such names in today’s Russia but I shall go on doing so …”

Prudovsky outside doors of the Supreme Court (photo Tatyana Britskaya, NG)

For a full report, see Novaya gazeta, 8 December 2021 [R]

The following day Sergei Prudovsky added the following comment on Facebook, employing a mild expletive to express his frustration and disbelief at the ruling of the highest court in the land:

“In short, the Supreme Court equated the work methods of the NKVD with those of the FSB and acknowledged NKVD operatives as FSB officers. It’s effing unbelievable.”

Keeping track of the case

A new page has been added to the TRIALS menu (above).

APPEALS, Aug. 2020-Nov. 2021 now follows TIMELINE 1 (1997-2018) and TIMELINE 2 (2018-2020).

The CHARGES page has two essential reports that reveal much of what went on behind closed doors during the first two trials: Nikita Girin’s long and informative article (in two parts) WHAT WE’VE UNCOVERED published in July 2020, and the linguist Irina Levontina’s interview with Zoya Svetova NATASHA HELD FIRM (published in September last year).

A statement from the Supreme Court may be made this week (22-27 December) about the Dmitriev case: for those who read Russian here is the link to the case on the Court’s website. The pages listed under the TRIALS menu provide an overview and give rapid access to articles, interviews and reports in English that document the shifts and changes of the past five years.

JC