Dmitriev’s acquittal

Dmitriev after the verdict was announced (photo, Natalia Dyomina)

Halya COYNASH
examines an extraordinary case

In a step back from the brink, a court in Russia has acquitted renowned historian Yury DMITRIEV of manifestly absurd charges for which the prosecutor had demanded a nine-year maximum security prison sentence.  62-year-old Dmitriev was convicted of a third charge, with the two-and-a-half year restriction of liberty sentence almost cancelled out by the 13 months he was held in detention.
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Reactions to the verdict

“It would have been just, in my view, to acquit [the accused, Yury Dmitriev] of all charges. But I am very happy, at least, that the fabricated and sordid accusation of paedophilia has been rejected,” said Natalya Solzhenitsyn. “He is an admirable man and our nation can be proud of people like him.”

The opinions voiced by novelist Ludmila Ulitskaya, poet Lev Rubinstein, satirist Victor Shenderovich, director Vladimir Mirzoyev, composer Vladimir Dashkevich, director Garry Bardin and presenter Dmitry Bykov follow (in Russian, for the time being).

They were collected and posted on the Dmitriev supporters FB page by Yury Mikhailin.

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Dmitriev acquitted

Dmitriev faces media after acquittal (April 2018)

YURY DMITRIEV has been acquitted of charges relating to the production of child pornography but, as his attorney Victor Anufriev predicted earlier today, the verdict delivered this afternoon by Judge Marina Nosova imposes conditions, for example, that will restrict the historian’s freedom of movement for some while yet.

The exact terms of these conditions will doubtless be clearer tomorrow. They appear to relate to the classic standby charge of possessing a firearm …

John Crowfoot,
5.50 pm GMT

“Dmitriev will remain free, but …”

Natalia Dyomina asks Dmitriev attorney VICTOR ANUFRIEV what he expects the outcome of the trial will be today, Thursday, 5 April 2018.

“Victor Mikhailovich, what do you expect today?”

“That Dmitriev will remain free, but the form in which this is achieved  could be most varied.”

Image may contain: 1 person, suit

Victor ANUFRIEV, Dmitriev’s defence attorney
since December 2016

“What do you think, will the hearing take long today?”

“At least two hours.”

(The hearing is scheduled to start at 3.00 local time and finish by 6 pm.)

“Good luck!”

Facebook
5 April 2018

Sandarmokh, 28 March 2018

The day after Xenia At was among a hundred DMITRIEV supporters crowded into the corridor of the Petrozavodsk City Courthouse, she made the trip to Sandarmokh and took these photos.

 

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Late winter in Russia. The snow is still thick on the ground, but the sky has turned from grey to blue.

“I love with you all my heart”: Yury Dmitriev’s Final Word in court

Despite repeated forensic analysis to the contrary, the Russian historian has spent 13 months in pre-trial detention on child pornography charges (writes Natalia Shkurenok).

On 27 March 2018, the final hearing was held in the prosecution of Russian historian and rights defender YURY DMITRIEV. Dmitriev, who has been instrumental in investigating Karelia’s Gulag past, was arrested in December 2016 and charged with producing child pornography, the evidence for which consisted of naked photographs of his adopted daughter.

Yesterday, Dmitriev was given the right to make a final statement before the court, after which the judge left to make a decision. The doors of Room 322 at Petrozavodsk City Court remained closed for 10 minutes. As Yury Dmitriev told the people waiting outside afterwards, instead of a long speech in his defence, he read a short letter from his adopted daughter Natasha.

“Dear Dad, I really miss you!

I hope that they release you soon. Everything is fine with me, I’m studying well. I wish you a belated happy birthday! How are things with you? Write when you can.

I love you with all my heart, your daughter Natasha.”

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On the eve of a verdict

Halya Coynash

A verdict is due on Thursday, 5 April 2018, in the trial of YURY DMITRIEV, world-renowned Russian historian and head of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Society.

City Courthouse, Petrozavodsk, 2018

Petrozavodsk City Courthouse (photo, Kerstin Kronvall)

The prosecution has demanded a 9-year sentence, despite even the expert assessments ordered by the court dismissing the charges. This deeply flawed case differs from many politically-motivated trials, however, in that the outcome is still not clear. A guilty verdict on Thursday afternoon will signal a new descent for Russia into its Soviet past.

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Prosecutor demands 9-year sentence for Yury Dmitriev

The Serbsky Institute, the organisation which Prosecutor Askerova requested to assess Dmitriev’s mental state and the nine supposedly pornographic photos, effectively demolished the prosecution case, by declaring that the photos had no sexual content or purpose and that Dmitriev was himself normal mentally.

Askerova, Yelena (Petrozavodsk city prosecutor)

Yelena ASKEROVA, Petrozavodsky City Prosecutor since 2012

In her closing statement, however, Yelena Askerova demanded that YURY DMITRIEV be found guilty as charged and given a 9-year setence of imprisonment.

On Thursday, 22 March, the defence will make its closing statement and the judge will withdraw to consider her verdict.

Closing statements on 20 and 22 March

“I know it will be difficult to put together a support group three times at the Petrozavodsk courthouse, so I consulted Victor Anufriev,” wrote Daniil Saksonov on 10 March. Dmitriev’s lawyer said that the hearing on 14 March would “not be very important”, just an additional examination of one witness.

The following Tuesday, 20 March, marks the beginning of the closing statements by prosecution and defence and it would be important that people came to Petrozavodsk on that day. “Let’s try to make it!” wrote Saksonov who lectures at the Moscow Film School. “Getting away from Moscow or St Petersburg is not easy, but let’s get together. Please send us a message if you can come.

“We’re hoping that Yury Alexeyevich [Dmitriev] will lead another excursion for visitors around memorial sites near Petrozavodsk (most probably to Krasny Bor).”

Facebook, 10 March 2018

Only three hearings to go?

“It’s very important to gather people for the last three hearings, we hope, at the Petrozavodsk city courthouse,” wrote Daniil Saksonov on 2 March. The court would again hear the Dmitriev case on Wednesday, 14 March, and on Tuesday and Thursday, 20 and 22 March, respectively.

“It would be a pity, you must agree, if the corridors were full of sympathisers at all the court hearings hitherto and now, when we’re in the home straight, they were suddenly empty. Especially since a wonderful opportunity has appeared to spend some time with YURY ALEXEYEVICH [Dmitriev] after the hearing. On Wednesday, 14 March, for instance, he will guide people around the Krasny Bor memorial complex. Events are being arranged for the other two days, as well.

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