On the Eve of a Verdict

On Friday, 10 July, Memorial hosted an online press conference about the forthcoming verdict in the DMITRIEV case. (The moderator was Oleg Orlov.)

In the absence of a transcribed and translated version of that event, here is a synchronic translation into English, with an approximate time location, of the remarks by Dmitriev’s friends, colleagues and supporters Irina FLIGE (7 mins), Anatoly RAZUMOV (13 m), Natalya SOLZHENITSYN (23 m) and Alexander SOKUROV (30 m). Sergei Davidis of Memorial (39) then discusses the plight of Russia’s many political prisoners, of whom Yury Dmitriev is one.

Their comments are followed by a Q&A in which Dmitriev’s remarkable defence attorney Victor ANUFRIEV (49 m) replies to questions from journalists, friendly and unfriendly …

The original Russian recording may be found here.

“He’s facing things bravely, but hopes for justice”

Yury DMITRIEV’s second trial, like the first, is being held behind closed doors. His lawyer Victor Anufriev recently provided his view of the case in the longest interview he has given to the media since early last year. (The second trial began in September 2018.)

The interviewer was Katerina Gordeyeva (Meduza).

Gordeyeva — Two years have passed since the Petrozavodsk City Court acquitted Yury DMITRIEV of the two most serious charges and gave him a two-year suspended sentence for “Illegal possession of a firearm”. Yet Dmitriev is still in the detention centre. What happened?

Anufriev — After the acquittal the prosecutor’s office, invoking its procedural rights, applied to the Supreme Court for the verdict to be annulled. I also submitted an appeal, for that part of the verdict which concerned the firearm, to be annulled.

As a result, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Karelia annulled the entire verdict, satisfying the appeal by the prosecutor’s office and my appeal. The case was returned for further examination.

And it was during this re-examination of the case that the new charges appeared?

Yes, on 9 September 2018 the two cases were combined as one investigation.

What was new to the case?

Dmitriev was accused of another, more serious, crime. He could now face a total of up to 20 years’ imprisonment. He is charged under four Articles of the RF Criminal Code:

  • 135, part 3: “Perverted Actions of a Sexual Character against a minor”;
  • 242.2, part 2: “Use of a Minor for the Purposes of Preparing Pornography”;
  • 222: “Illegal Acquisition, Transfer, Sale, Storage, Transportation, or Bearing of Firearms, Its Basic Parts, Ammunition, Explosives, and Explosive Devices”;
  • 132, part 4: “Violent Actions of a Sexual Character against Someone who has not reached the Age of Fourteen”.

Victor Anufriev

The charge that Dmitriev was in illegal possession of a firearm — one that did not work, incidentally, and for which Dmitriev had a permit — has not disappeared.

Of the new charges the main accusation is of violent sexual activities. There was no such accusation in 2016, when the case began.

There was not.

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Verdict expected in February 2020

YURY DMITRIEV’s lawyer expects a verdict in his second trial at the end of February 2020. The prosecution and defence are currently giving their final statements.

The present trial began in October 2018 and has proceeded even more slowly than the first. Less is known about what has been going on behind closed doors at the second trial, also held in camera. One strategy pursued by Victor Anufriev, the defence attorney, has stressed his client’s high reputation among academics, rights activists and other professionals, for example, Anatoly Razumov of the National Library in St Petersburg. They have testified in his defence. In November 2019 a petition in English (and Italian) was circulated among academics overseas and the resulting list of signatories was presented as evidence in court.

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Update on Koltyrin arrest

On 3 October, Sergei KOLTYRIN and Yevgeny Nosov were remanded in custody until 27 November.  The charges concern a 13-year-old boy.  The Interfax news agency has asserted, citing an unnamed source, that Koltyrin has written a confession.

As with all proceedings against Dmitriev, the prosecution is able to hold them behind closed doors because of the age of the alleged victim.  Defence lawyer Victor ANUFRIEV, who has represented Dmitriev from the beginning, will be representing Koltyrin as well.

There appears to be no information about Nosov, except that he does not appear to have a lawyer.

Human Rights in Ukraine
3 October 2018