A rare moment of justice from a Russian court has proved all too fleeting, writes Halya Coynash. On 14 June, Karelia’s High Court overturned the acquittal in April of world-renowned historian Yury Dmitriev and sent the ‘case’ back for retrial. Dmitriev’s imprisonment and trial had been widely viewed as politically-motivated persecution, and his acquittal – the only possible verdict after the charges were totally demolished by experts.
On Thursday, 14 June, after deliberations lasting over one and a half hours, the Supreme Court of Karelia overturned the acquittal of Yury DMITRIEV on charges of child pornography (Article 242.2) and depraved acts with a minor (Article 135).
This was reported by the news website 7×7, based on what it was told after the hearing by Victor Anufriev, Dmitriev’s defence attorney since December 2016.
The court based its judgement, in part, on a statement made by Dmitriev’s adopted daughter Natasha during a psychiatric examination following the acquittal in April 2018 that she was “upset and disgraced”. This statement, said Anufriev, was obtained under duress.
The case materials will now be returned to the Petrozavodsk City Court for re-examination by a new judge.
On Thursday 14 June, the Supreme Court of Karelia will hear several appeals in the Dmitriev case (his defence lawyer Victor Anufriev told the Karelian internet newspaper Stolitsa na Onego). Anufriev intends to secure the dismissal of the charge that his client unlawfully possessed parts of a weapon.
The Petrozavodsk city prosecutor’s office has also submitted an appeal against the verdict of the City Court. The conclusions drawn by the court do not reflect the factual materials of the case, says the prosecutor’s office. The Petrozavodsk city prosecutor Yelena Askerova considers that a number of rules of the Criminal Procedural Code were infringed, as well. The appeal calls for the acquittal to be quashed. In court, Askerova demanded nine years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony for YURY DMITRIEV.
During his Final Words to the court, YURY DMITRIEV did not launch a blistering denunciation of those who had obstructed his work for years, and persecuted him after he was arrested and charged with child pornography and corruption of a minor in December 2016.
He read the court a letter from his adopted daughter Natasha. Then he presented it to Marina Nosova, the judge at his trial.
7×7 – Karelia
13 April 2018
The grandmother of YURY DMITRIEV’s adopted daughter Natasha has appealed to the Supreme Court of Karelia against his acquittal. This was first reported yesterday on the Petrozavodsk Calling [R] website. In a telephone conversation with 7×7, the woman confirmed that she had submitted an appeal to the higher court. She refused to explain why she had done so and put down the phone. Continue reading
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.”
Yury Dmitriev‘s beloved Alsatian Vedma (Witch) died a while back. He himself, as we know, has spent over a year in the Petrozavodsk Detention Centre. During that time he and his foster daughter have not seen one another.
Among the dozens of New Year’s greetings sent to Katerina Klodt via the Russian supporters’ page on Facebook, one simply remembered and named a person at the centre of this whole dreadful case:
“Dearest Katya! May God restore your family to you, and may Papa and Natasha return home …”
footage from Jessica Gorter‘s 2017 film “Red Soul” (De Rode Ziel) of Dmitriev, Witch and Natasha.
Yury Dmitriev was arrested at his apartment in Petrozavodsk on Friday, 13 December 2016, while his wife was at the hospital and Natasha was at school. Natasha was picked up by the Child Protection Agency and today lives with her natural grandmother.
Paediatricians from Moscow, Grigory Shayanov and Fyodor Katasanov gave testimony in court on 1 September 2017. There was nothing unusual in what Yury Dmitriev had done, they told the court, the photographing of children to monitor their development over time was widely practised: in early 2018 a law would come into force about such long-distance// remote medical diagnosis (it was signed by President Putrin on 30 July 2017). At the hearing on 22 June 2017 Professor Lev Shcheglov said that there were no pornographic photos in the Dmitriev case. [Sumary]
Russian text in full …
“Yury Dmitriev is a strong character and has withstood this ordeal with honour. I shall defend him in acordance with the law,” defence attorney VICTOR ANUFRIEV told 7×7 correspondent Alexander Gnetnev.
“Today I do not know whether his actions constitute a crime. He has a simple and rational explanation for what he did: at special courses he attended before adopting his daughter [in 2008] he was recommended to keep a photographic record so that the development of the child could be monitored.
“She came to him in a neglected physical condition. The photographs were stored in his private computer. He showed them to no one; he did not print them out; he did not send them to anyone else.”
(Translation in progress – full Russian text follows)