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.
Yury DMITRIEV’s lawyer Victor Anufriev has written to the chairman of the Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, challenging the decision taken on 12 October [R] not to examine the appeal against his client’s sentence to 13 years imprisonment.
On 4 October Judge Sergei Abramov of the Panel for Criminal Cases [R] was assigned the 20 case files covering Dmitriev’s first and second trials and the appeal drawn up by Anufriev against the 29 September 2020 ruling of the Karelian High Court. “… having studied the cassation appeal,” the Supreme Court press service stated a week later, “the judge saw no grounds for agreeing with the arguments put forward in the appeal”. It would not be presented, therefore, for consideration by the full panel of judges.
After a cursory examination of only four working days this was an inadequate response, commentators noted, to the volume of evidence accumulated at the two trials and the thoroughly documented appeal submitted in June.
On Tuesday 16 February the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg heard Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal against the ruling of the High Court of Karelia. The court did not uphold the appeal and left unchanged the harsh sentence of 13 years in a strict-regime penal colony. As Memorial reported, the consuls of Poland and Lithuania attended the hearing.
Victor Anufriev at the 16 February hearing (photo, Natalia Dyomina)
Afterwards Dmitriev’s lawyer Victor Anufriev told the 7×7 news website that once he had received the text of the Cassation Court’s ruling he would appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in Moscow.
“You must always look for the positive moments and this time there were two,” Anufriev told our journalist. “One, we have reached and passed this stage in the proceedings. Two, the cases have again been combined into one. This is very good. It means I can draw up one appeal to the Supreme Court. The rest remains as before.
“As I’ve said, such a decision cannot be allowed in a law-governed State. How can I regard such a ruling if I am convinced that Yury Alexeyevich did nothing of a criminal nature? Leaving aside the rifle, of which I spoke today. My client does not deny possession; put him on trial for that firearm. All the rest has been dreamed up, the entire accusation is pure invention.”
The appeal against the September ruling of the Karelian High Court will be heard by the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg today. The 45-minute hearing begins at 11.15 am and the media will be admitted.
This hearing concerns the many procedural violations committed by the High Court of Karelia during its re-consideration of the “light” (3.5 year) sentence issued by the Petrozavodsk City Court in July last year. Dmitriev’s quietly determined and highly competent defence attorney Victor Anufriev will be present, as he was not during the High Court hearings in September 2020; Yury DMITRIEV himself will not be there.
It is hoped that a court outside Karelia will prove more able to reach decisions based on law and not be influenced by extra-judicial pressure. In confirmation of the unreliability of Karelia’s highest court [which we now refer to as the High, not the Supreme, Court of Karelia] the appeal by the legal firm whom Judge Khomyakova tried to appoint in place of Anufriev, Dmitriev’s lawyer since late 2016, was not upheld by the High Courtlast week.
Evidently, there will be no hearing at the Petrozavodsk City Court today. Dmitriev’s attorney Victor Anufriev made the journey from Moscow to the Karelian capital and arrived at the courthouse at 10 am. There he waited outside closed doors until 11 am when he learned that Judge Khomyakova was hearing another case elsewhere in the building.