Daniel Kotsubinsky‘s placard reads, “Let Yury Dmitriev go, Kremlin! You’ve tormented him enough!”
He stands in St Petersburg in front of one of Mikhail Shemyakin’s two sphinxes, creatures displaying a woman’s face to the roadside, a grinning skull on the side facing the Kresty Prison across the river.
The two sculptures were erected in 1995 as a memorial to the Victims of Political Repression.
On Tuesday 16 February the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg heard Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal against the ruling of the High Court of Karelia. The court did not uphold the appeal and left unchanged the harsh sentence of 13 years in a strict-regime penal colony. As Memorial reported, the consuls of Poland and Lithuania attended the hearing.
Victor Anufriev at the 16 February hearing (photo, Natalia Dyomina)
Afterwards Dmitriev’s lawyer Victor Anufriev told the 7×7 news website that once he had received the text of the Cassation Court’s ruling he would appeal against the decision at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in Moscow.
“You must always look for the positive moments and this time there were two,” Anufriev told our journalist. “One, we have reached and passed this stage in the proceedings. Two, the cases have again been combined into one. This is very good. It means I can draw up one appeal to the Supreme Court. The rest remains as before.
“As I’ve said, such a decision cannot be allowed in a law-governed State. How can I regard such a ruling if I am convinced that Yury Alexeyevich did nothing of a criminal nature? Leaving aside the rifle, of which I spoke today. My client does not deny possession; put him on trial for that firearm. All the rest has been dreamed up, the entire accusation is pure invention.”
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.
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 Courtlast week.
Evidently, there will be no hearing at the Petrozavodsk City Court today. Dmitriev’s attorney Victor Anufriev made the journey from Moscow to the Karelian capital and arrived at the courthouse at 10 am. There he waited outside closed doors until 11 am when he learned that Judge Khomyakova was hearing another case elsewhere in the building.
A recent post on the website of the Petrozavodsk City Court reports that Yury DMITRIEV’s appeal of 21 December has been forwarded to the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg. The appeal objects to the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of Karelia on 29 September: Dmitriev’s term of imprisonment was increased almost fourfold from 3 ½ to 13 years in a strict regime penal colony; and the three other charges were returned to the city court to be re-examined a third time.