High Court upholds 15-year sentence

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.

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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.

John Crowfoot

Dmitriev appeal hearing set for Wednesday, 9 March

A hearing of the appeal against Yury DMITRIEV’s conviction in late December last year has been scheduled for 9 March at the High Court of Karelia.

Curiously, the old link to the case on the Court’s website no longer works. Instead, you must search for it anew and can only find it by tracking the case number.

In the past the details were concealed. They then become partially accessible: now it has been decided to conceal them again.

Alexandra Kononova

“Dmitriev Affair” page, Facebook,
18 February 2022

“A message to my supporters!” Dmitriev in the Petrozavodsk courthouse, 28 December 2021

Prosecution demands 15 years

In its closing statement the prosecution at Yury DMITRIEV’s third trial on the same charges in the past five years has demanded that his term of imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony be increased.

“Free Yury Dmitriev!”

This familiar poster now carries another demand: “Hands off Memorial!”

It wants him to serve a total of 15 years as opposed to the 13 years and six months imposed last September by Karelia’s High Court.

“Unprecedented”

At present there is a lull in the judicial proceedings. His lawyer Victor Anufriev says that the case files for both of Dmitriev’s trials remain in Moscow with the Supreme Court.

On 19 October Anufriev challenged the decision of the Court not to examine the appeal he submitted on his client’s behalf in June this year. His challenge was sent to Vyacheslav Lebedev, chairman of the Supreme Court, and as a result the hearings in Petrozavodsk will not resume at least until 19 November.

“This would be the third time the Petrozavodsk City Court has issued a verdict,” commented Anufriev. “He has already been acquitted twice on these charges [making pornographic photos]. These days, especially, to acquit someone twice, to release him and then return the case for re-examination is unprecedented.”

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Today in St Petersburg

Appeal hearing at the Third Cassation Court

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.

Victor Anufriev

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 Court last week.