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.

WHY DMITRIEV? (2)

See Why Dmitriev? (1)

On 27 December 2021, the Petrozavodsk City Court in Karelia will deliver its third verdict in the case of Yury DMITRIEV. The highest court in the land remains silent; lawyers from Memorial’s Human Rights Centre have submitted an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“Child Pornography”

The court in Karelia will be serving an “unprecedented” third judgement on issues thoroughly aired at Dmitriev’s two previous trials where he was twice acquitted of the self-same charges.

Yury Dmitriev and Victor Anufriev, March 2018

The republic’s High Court decided otherwise, quadrupling the sentence for sexual abuse of a minor, and returning the charges of child pornography and non-violent abuse to be considered a third time.

Dmitriev’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev has demonstrated, twice, that his client has no charge to answer. Meeting the accusations head on with testimony from a succession of experts, Anufriev has shown within the framework of current legislation and the procedures of the Russian judicial system that Yury DMITRIEV is innocent. If he is now convicted the decision will be based not on the rule of law or established procedure but on other extra-judicial criteria.

Much of the discussion in the first two cases, as journalist Nikita Girin showed, concerns the kind of photos and parental behaviour to be found in any family. So what has driven this relentless persecution? Earlier events and the timing of the last few days, as the Memorial Human Rights Centre and the Memorial Society themselves face liquidation by the courts, offer a further suggestion.

Pursuing a Loner

Dmitriev and the evidence against him “fit the bill” like none other.

Potential supporters in Russia, not to mention the West, would have second thoughts about anyone accused of “child pornography” or the “sexual abuse” of a minor – offences regarded in the West with a strong and barely rational horror.

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Sergei Prudovsky vs. the FSB

Whilst we wait for the Supreme Court to continue its hearing of the case against the Memorial Society, and to decide whether it will make any response to Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal (19 October 2021), the court will today consider the case brought against the FSB by researcher Sergei Prudovsky.

Thwarted by the Tula and Ivanovo Region departments of the FSB in his pursuit of access to files and names from 80 years ago, Prudovsky is demanding a clear response to two questions:

  • Does the FSB consider itself the successor to the Stalin-era NKVD?
  • Can it lawfully conceal the identity of those NKVD officers who carried out the Great Terror in 1937-1938?

He will be supported in court by Memorial lawyer Marina Agaltsova.

Sergei B. Prudovsky and Memorial Society casefiles

Exactly a year ago the judicial board of the First Appeal Court (Central Region) ruled that the rank, title, surname and signatures of the Moscow Region’s NKVD officers at the time were a State Secret. This was specifically in reference to officers Yakubovich, Sorokin and Wolfson who had fabricated criminal charges, and used unlawful means (application of force and brutality) in the conduct of their investigations. They were subsequently convicted of such behaviour and had not since been rehabilitated.

I wonder, Prudovsky added then: could this decision itself be qualified under Article 316 of the RF Criminal Code, “Concealment of a crime”?

JC

Shot, Imprisoned, Deported, Rearrested

The information gathered in the 1990s in Russia’s Books of Remembrance about “victims of political repression” mainly derives from the records of the Soviet police and security services.

Even that thin evidence provides glimpses of human suffering that are shocking both in scale and persistence. These examples from the 1930s begin with the forced collectivization of agriculture and end with the Great Terror.

SHOT

Andrian Avdeyenko, an independent peasant farmer, was shot in 1931 (aged 29). He was born and worked in the Yedogon village, Irkutsk Region. Arrested in April 1930, he was charged under Article 58 with “armed uprising” and “the organisation of counter-revolutionary activities”. The OGPU troika sentenced him to death and on 22 January 1931 Avdeyenko was shot in Irkutsk.

Daniil A. Yepifantsev (1889-1933 shot) did not resist collectivization and joined a collective farm (kolkhoz). Nevertheless, he was arrested in 1932 and shot the next year, leaving behind a 41-year-old wife and seven children aged 2-17.

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Detention Centre No. 1, Petrozavodsk

photo Darya Poryadinova, SOTA TV

This is where Yury DMITRIEV has been held, apart from outings to the courthouse, since June 2018.

During his first trial the measure of restraint was eased during the last six months from custody at Detention Centre 1 to an agreement not to leave Petrozavodsk. If he is convicted next week and the prosecution gets its way it will be a long while before DMITRIEV is a free man again.

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