Sergei Prudovsky vs. the FSB

Whilst we wait for the Supreme Court to continue its hearing of the case against the Memorial Society, and to decide whether it will make any response to Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal (19 October 2021), the court today will consider the case brought against the FSB by researcher Sergei Prudovsky.

Thwarted by the Tula and Ivanovo Region departments of the FSB in his pursuit of access to files and names from 80 years ago, Prudovsky is demanding a clear response to two questions: Does the FSB consider itself the successor to the Stalin-era NKVD? Can it lawfully conceal the identity of those NKVD officers who carried out the Great Terror in 1937-1938? He will be supported in court by Memorial lawyer Marina Agaltsova.

Sergei Prudovsky and Memorial Society casefiles

Exactly a year ago the judicial board of the First Appeal Court ruled that the rank, title, surname and signatures of the Moscow Region’s NKVD officers were a State Secret. This was specifically in reference to officers Yakubovich, Sorokin and Wolfson who had fabricated criminal charges, and used unlawful means (application of force and brutality) in conduct of the investigations. They were subsequently convicted of such behaviour and had not since been rehabilitated.

I wonder, Prudovsky added then: could this decision itself be qualified under Article 316 of the RF Criminal Code, “Concealment of a crime”?

Trial resumes. Anufriev cannot attend

Several hearings in Yury DMITRIEV’s third trial at the Petrozavodsk City Court are due to take place this week and next: today, tomorrow and Friday, and on Monday, 6 December.

What happens today (writes Natalia Dyomina on Facebook) promises to be unpredictable. DMITRIEV’s principal defence attorney of the past five years Victor Anufriev has been ill [last year he missed important hearings while self-isolating due to Covid-19] and Dmitriev signed an agreement with a second attorney from Petrozavodsk. At the last court hearing, however, the substitute lawyer could not be present: he was due to appear at another trial, agreed much earlier, some way from the Karelian capital.

Victor Anufriev, February 2021

Soon Judge Khomyakova was up to her old tricks. Dissatisfied with these “delays” she herself appointed an attorney, giving him or her (the identity of the new lawyer is unknown) only a few days to get acquainted with no less than 25 substantial case files from the two earlier trials.

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Keeping track of the case

A new page has been added to the TRIALS menu (above).

APPEALS, Aug. 2020-Nov. 2021 now follows TIMELINE 1 (1997-2018) and TIMELINE 2 (2018-2020).

The CHARGES page has two essential reports that reveal much of what went on behind closed doors during the first two trials: Nikita Girin’s long and informative article (in two parts) WHAT WE’VE UNCOVERED published in July 2020, and the linguist Irina Levontina’s interview with Zoya Svetova NATASHA HELD FIRM (published in September last year).

A statement from the Supreme Court may be made this week (22-27 December) about the Dmitriev case: for those who read Russian here is the link to the case on the Court’s website. The pages listed under the TRIALS menu provide an overview and give rapid access to articles, interviews and reports in English that document the shifts and changes of the past five years.

JC

Legal Action to Shut Down Memorial throughout Russia

Statement by the board of International Memorial

“On 11 November 2021 at about 4:30 pm we were notified by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation that the Prosecutor General’s office has filed a lawsuit requesting the International Memorial be closed down for alleged systematic violations of the ‘foreign agents’ act (reference being made to failure to append the ‘foreign agent’ disclaimer to this organisation’s materials). The court hearing is scheduled to take place on 25 November.

“We have repeatedly stated that the act in question has been introduced with the view to eradicating independent organisations and insisted that it should be revoked. However, while the law is still in force we are obliged to follow its requirements.

“We believe that there are no legal grounds for the Memorial to be dismantled.

“This is a political decision aimed at exterminating the Memorial Society, the organisation dealing with history of political repression and human rights defence.”

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“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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