Two days after being sentenced to 15 years in a strict-regime penal colony, Yury DMITRIEV wrote to veteran rights activist Lena Sannikova. Recently she published an excerpt on the Facebook page of his supporters:
“In my last words to the court I said I was proud to work with Memorial.
Then I quoted what Varvara Brusilova (1899-1937) said to the Moscow tribunal after being sentenced to death [she was shot on 10 September that year at Sandarmokh, L.S.]: ‘I regard your sentence calmly: according to my religious beliefs there is no death … and I shall not beg for pardon or mercy’.”
“Don’t worry! We shall survive. All of us are Memorial. We are a nation, and no nation can exist without memory.
“We’ve seen worse times in Russia. We shall overcome!”
from Prisoner Dmitriev (Hottabych) 29 December 2021
As soon as sentence was passed in December 2021 at Yury DMITRIEV’s third trial, his lawyers submitted an appeal against the verdict.
Yury Dmitriev in the courthouse corridor, 2022
Unlike the previous two trials, the court was openly prejudiced against the accused and would accept no petitions from the defence. Victor Anufriev, Dmitriev’s defence attorney since December 2016, objected on grounds of elementary disregard for court procedure.
The High Court of Karelia began its hearing on 9 March 2022, during the fighting in Ukraine and unprecedented protests (and arrests) in Russia. As Valery Potashov reports on the Dmitriev supporters Facebook page, the court has just turned down the application to overturn the swingeing 15-year sentence imposed in late December last year. Perhaps, as before, further appeals will take the case higher up the judicial ladder, to the Cassation Court in Petersburg and the Supreme Court in Moscow. Dmitriev’s attorneys have not yet commented on yesterday’s ruling (and will only receive the written justification for the court’s ruling in some days time).
For the time being the 66-year-old DMITRIEV remains in Karelia’s detention centre No 1 in Petrozavodsk where he can be visited by his attorney and his daughter Katya. How much longer no one knows.
Sergei Bykovsky today posted on Facebook a photo of Yury DMITRIEV in 2005 at Mount Sekirna on the Great Solovetsky Island. Dmitriev’s little foster daughter Natasha was christened on that trip.
That year Yury DMITRIEV received the new Golden Pen of Russia award for his publications about the building of the White Sea Canal in the early 1930s and the Karelian killing fields at Krasny Bor and Sandarmokh which he helped to discover where thousands were shot and secretly buried during the Great Terror.