“Move Trial to New Jurisdiction” (Open Letter)

On Monday, 28 September, an Open Letter signed by over two hundred Russian scientists, actors, rights activists, politicians, film-makers, historians and publishers was published in Novaya gazeta. It was addressed to the chairman of Karelia’s Supreme Court Anatoly Nakvas.

Yury Alexeyevich DMITRIEV
(photo Anna Artyemeva, Novaya gazeta)

After outlining the progress of the two trials at which Yury DMITRIEV was charged with a variety of offences, the signatories raise doubts that the Supreme Court of Karelia will provide a fair and just hearing of the appeals launched after the second trial ended in July 2020. Not only was the first acquittal in April 2018 overturned: this time the chances of Dmitriev receiving a fair hearing have been severely prejudiced by the behaviour of the court, as presided over by Judge Alla Rats.

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Another look at those nine photographs?

At the Supreme Court hearing on 22 September in Petrozavodsk, Judge Alla Rats requested another expert assessment of the photographs on Yury DMITRIEV’s home computer that formed the pretext for his arrest on 13 December 2016.

From Nikita Girin’s two detailed articles this July in Novaya gazeta we have learned which among the 140 plus photographs taken of his foster daughter between 2008 and 2015 were selected to support a charge of child pornography against the historian, and why.

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Hearing goes ahead — without Anufriev

The hearing at Karelia’s Supreme Court of defence and prosecution appeals against the 22 July verdict in the DMITRIEV trial will go ahead tomorrow despite the absence of Victor Anufriev, the attorney who has led Dmitriev’s defence since December 2016.

Postponed for a week at Anufriev’s request (he is self-isolating), the hearing will begin at 10 am on Tuesday, 22 September at 27 Kirov Street in Petrozavodsk. Yury DMITRIEV is to be represented by a local, court-appointed lawyer. Dmitriev himself will take part via video-link from the city’s detention centre; tomorrow, as throughout the two previous trials, public and press are not admitted to the courtroom.

As usual Dmitriev supporters, from near and far, will travel to Petrozavodsk in solidarity.

Dmitriev supporters outside the Supreme Court of Karelia, 16 September 2020

Natasha “held firm: she did not utter a single unnecessary word”

Irina Levontina, expert linguist at the Dmitriev trial, talks to Zoya Svetova for MBK Media about her work on the case and the pressures now faced by court experts.

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On 22 July 2020 Petrozavodsk City Court sentenced Yury DMITRIEV to three and a half years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony for “acts of a sexual nature committed against a minor”. Irina Levontina presented the findings of the linguistic specialists invited by the defence at the trial. [She is a senior research associate of the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Russian Language.]

Their assessment played a significant role, it seems, in the award of such a mild sentence: the Criminal Code suggests a minimum of 12 years’ imprisonment for such a crime.

Irina Levontina (MBK media)

ZOYA SVETOVA (ZS) – With Academician Alexander Moldovan, Anna Dybo (Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences) and Alexei Shmelyov – all famous linguists – you prepared an expert assessment at the request of Yury Dmitriev’s defence. On which of the case materials did you base your findings?

IRINA LEVONTINA (IL) – They gave us seven texts, some with accompanying video. They were [Natasha’s] conversations with the psychologist and the cross-examination of a minor [by the investigator]. The case was held behind closed doors, so I can hardly tell you anything about the content of the texts we analysed. Before and especially after sentence was pronounced a heated discussion broke out.

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