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.
At the third attempt the Cassation Court in St Petersburg has allowed the appeal submitted by Yury DMITRIEV and his lawyer Victor Anufriev to go forward for examination. A report in the Kommersant newspaper (14 December 2020) quotes Anufriev as saying that DMITRIEV “had submitted one appeal against all the previous decisions reached by the courts” in Karelia.
“In the cassation appeal we have combined our objections to the High Court of Karelia which [on 29 September 2020] sentenced Yury Dmitriev to 13 years imprisonment,” said Dmitriev’s defence attorney. “We have also sent part of the case materials for a new examination: in that case we are appealing against the previous decision to sentence my client to 3 ½ years in a penal colony.” No date has yet been scheduled for the hearing at the court in St Petersburg, commented Anufriev.
In early July 1997, DMITRIEV together with Irina Flige and the late Veniamin Joffediscovered a huge killing field of the Great Terror near Medvezhegorsk in Karelia. Subsequently it became known as Sandarmokh.
Weeks later, in early September, he and Sergei Chugunkov identify the Krasny Bor killing field and burial ground not far from Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia.
The appeal hearings at the High Court of Karelia on 16, 22 and 29 September took place in the absence of Victor Anufriev who has been DMITRIEV’S defence attorney since 2016 (he is self-isolating because of Covid-19).
In a telephone interview, Anufriev told Zoya Svetova that he had been in constant touch with the attorney [Artyom Cherkasov] appointed to represent Dmitriev after the court refused his client’s lawful demand to postpone the proceedings until Anufriev was able to attend.