Round Three: November 2020

Next week the charges against Yury DMITRIEV will be examined, once again, in the Petrozavodsk City Court. The first hearing in the new trial is scheduled for Tuesday, 24 November (on the court’s website it was announced that the trial would begin on Wednesday, 18 November, but the later date was agreed and confirmed with Dmitriev’s defence).

This will be the third time Yury Dmitriev has been put on trial for the same crimes. Twice the Petrozavodsk City Court has found the historian not guilty of preparing child pornography or committing depraved acts against his foster daughter. On a further charge of illegal possession of a firearm he was found guilty in 2018, but acquitted in 2020.

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“An outrageous decision”

The appeal hearings at the High Court of Karelia on 16, 22 and 29 September took place in the absence of Victor Anufriev who has been DMITRIEV’S defence attorney since 2016 (he is self-isolating because of Covid-19).

In a telephone interview, Anufriev told Zoya Svetova that he had been in constant touch with the attorney [Artyom Cherkasov] appointed to represent Dmitriev after the court refused his client’s lawful demand to postpone the proceedings until Anufriev was able to attend.

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The security services have had their way

Sergei Krivenko, Memorial board member, on the Karelian Supreme Court ruling. (He first made a statement about the case in 2017.)

Different sides were in play here, I think. In the Petrozavodsk City Court, Dmitriev’s defence attorney was able to outplay the security services by bringing forward a mass of witnesses, experts and specialists and used procedural norms to push the court at the first and second trials to take the right decision. The prosecution did not provide a single proof of Dmitriev’s guilt.

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“I’ve not given up, I’m not dispirited, we’ll keep on fighting!”

On 29 September, the day of the new sentence, DMITRIEV sent the following letter from the detention centre to photojournalist Victoria Ivleva:

Hi there, Vika!

They gave me 13 [years] for [Article] 132, just as the prosecutor wanted, and set a new trial under a new judge for the charges of which I was acquitted …

As I understand it, we’ll keep on fighting. …

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