Another look at those nine photographs?

At the Supreme Court hearing on 22 September in Petrozavodsk, Judge Alla Rats requested another expert assessment of the photographs on Yury DMITRIEV’s home computer that formed the pretext for his arrest on 13 December 2016.

From Nikita Girin’s two detailed articles this July in Novaya gazeta we have learned which among the 140 plus photographs taken of his foster daughter between 2008 and 2015 were selected to support a charge of child pornography against the historian, and why.

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Hearing goes ahead — without Anufriev

The hearing at Karelia’s Supreme Court of defence and prosecution appeals against the 22 July verdict in the DMITRIEV trial will go ahead tomorrow despite the absence of Victor Anufriev, the attorney who has led Dmitriev’s defence since December 2016.

Postponed for a week at Anufriev’s request (he is self-isolating), the hearing will begin at 10 am on Tuesday, 22 September at 27 Kirov Street in Petrozavodsk. Yury DMITRIEV is to be represented by a local, court-appointed lawyer. Dmitriev himself will take part via video-link from the city’s detention centre; tomorrow, as throughout the two previous trials, public and press are not admitted to the courtroom.

As usual Dmitriev supporters, from near and far, will travel to Petrozavodsk in solidarity.

Dmitriev supporters outside the Supreme Court of Karelia, 16 September 2020

Appeals to be Heard on 16 September

On Wednesday, 16 September 2020, the Supreme Court of Karelia will hear the appeals submitted by both defence and prosecution after the 22 July verdict and sentence in the trial of Yury DMITRIEV.

The investigation and prosecution of the historian and head of the Memorial Society in Karelia began in December 2016 and has lasted almost four years, during which time Dmitriev has been detained, almost continually, at detention & investigation centre No 1 in Petrozavodsk.

The current appeals

Dmitriev’s defence has appealed against his conviction on one of the charges and called for his acquittal on all counts.

Under the Russian judicial system, the prosecution is also entitled to appeal. The prosecution has protested about the exceptionally light sentence (3 ½ years) and is calling, as it did during the closing statements, for a sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment in a strict-regime penal colony.

The charges and the verdict

The evidence and expert testimony supporting and opposing a range of charges against the historian have been heard and evaluated at two trials since June 2017.

After examining the charges, the International Memorial Society declared on 28 June 2017 that Dmitriev was a “political prisoner”. The case against him was fabricated, said Memorial, and Dmitriev was innocent of all charges.

Today 64 years old, Dmitriev has been prosecuted for a number of  crimes under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. He was acquitted of all but one charge in April 2018. Tried again between October 2018 and July 2020 for two of the same offences and a further charge, he was found guilty of the new crime but given a minimal sentence.

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“They are not used to losing” (Yury Dmitriev)

According to Dmitriev’s lawyer Victor Anufriev, a report by a psychologist pointing to “certain new circumstances” was presented to the Supreme Court of Karelia on 14 June.

“We shall know why the Supreme Court of Karelia took such a decision only in five days’ time,” Anufriev told Lyubov Chizhova of Radio Svoboda, “when the grounds for such a ruling on the appeal have been prepared. Yesterday they only announced the resolution that the sentence had been wholly revoked, as concerns both the acquittal [on two charges] and the conviction [on one charge].

Anufriev: I appealed against the conviction for possession of a firearm. The court revoked that conviction. The prosecutor appealed against the acquittal on the serious charges. The court also revoked the acquittal and sent the case back for a new examination almost from the beginning. We shall learn why it acted in this way when we can read its motivated resolution. We can say now that we were expecting the prosecutor’s office to use every means at their disposal. They used the child for their own purposes. That was predictable.

Why was it so important for the prosecutor’s office to keep Dmitriev on trial?

Anufriev: The charges were signed by Yelena Askerova, the Petrozavodsk city prosecutor. She took part in the trial and upheld the charges. She did not drop the charges and so if she has acted as prosecutor and received an acquittal, she must appeal against it. It has become a widely-reported case. I believe that she faced a choice between losing her job or securing a conviction. That’s why she was prepared to use all and any means.

We did not invite the child to appear in court. We wanted to spare her. We did not want to make her give testimony in support of Dmitriev, because she had said nothing bad about him during the preliminary investigation. They took a different approach. The Petrozavodsk ombudsman for children’s rights became involved and, on instruction from the prosecutor’s office, it seems, he brought the grandmother and child 600 kms to Petrozavodsk. Then they found a psychologist and he wrote down what the girl said.

What action will you take now?

Anufriev: We shall defend our client using legal methods and approaches. A great many expert assessments that clear Yury Dmitriev were added to the case. These, of course, destroyed many of the points made by the prosecution.

Now they want to use such underhand methods to shore up their position: supposedly, certain new circumstances have appeared. Now they will invite the children’s rights ombudsman and this psychologist to appear in court, and will request that new expert assessments be made.

Radio Svoboda, 15 June 2018
(abridged)