“I love with you all my heart”: Yury Dmitriev’s Final Word in court

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.”

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Happier Times

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.

Endocrynologist tells court about Natasha’s health

On 30 August an endocrynologist told Judge Marina Nosova that Dmitriev’s adopted daughter is in need of medical treatment and special care from her father. His photographic record of her changing condition was, therefore, justified. A petition from defence attorney Victor Anufriev for a change in the measure of restraint imposed on his client was denied because, in the opinion of the court, Yury Dmitriev posed a flight risk and might put pressure on the witnesses. The court also refused a request from Dmitriev himself to say who the author of the anonymous denunciation was. (Summary)
Full text in Russian, read on …

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Using photographs to monitor a child’s health

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 …

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“A photo of a naked child is not pornography” (Victor Anufriev)

“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)

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Dmitriev arrested after anonymous denunciation

Yury Dmitriev categorically denies he is guilty. He took photos of his 11-year-old adoptive daughter as a record of her state of health, said Sergei Krivenko, citing the words of Dmitriev’s defence attorney Victor Anufriev.

According to Krivenko, when Dmitriev adopted the girl [Natasha] she was very thin, one might say emaciated, and the adoption agency ordered Dmitriev to follow her development closely. The day before his arrest, said Krivenko, the prosecutor’s office were informed anonymously that such photos could be found on Dmitriev’s computer. Who might have learned of their existence, and how, is for the time being incomprehensible.

(Translation in progress – full Russian original follows) Continue reading

Historian Dmitriev arrested and jailed

The chairman of the Karelian branch of Memorial, Yury Dmitriev, one of the discoverers of Sandarmokh and a founder of its memorial complex, was arrested at his flat on Friday, 13 December. His computer and mobile phone were confiscated and the same day the adoption agency took Dmitriev’s 11-year-old adopted daughter from school.

The day before, says his common-law wife, who is currently in hospital, they found signs that someone had been in their apartment. Memorial representative and member of the President’s council on Human Rights, Sergei Krivenko, believes that these events might be a provocation aimed at discrediting the Memorial Society.

(Translation in progress – full Russian text follows.)

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