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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Russia. The Supreme Court refused to consider the appeal of Memorial activist Yuri Dmitriev

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Russia’s Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal against a 13-year prison sentence for the famous historian Yuri Dmitriev. An activist investigating the Stalinist crimes of the Memorial Association was accused of sexual acts against an underage foster daughter. The diplomatic services of the EU and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs appealed for his release.

The refusal was announced on Wednesday on the website of the Russian Memorial. Yuri Dmitriev’s attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court after the Court of Cassation in February this year he upheld a sentence of 13 years in prison.

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The proceedings against the 65-year-old historian have been going on since 2016. Dmitriyev was accused of producing pornographic material involving minors. The charges were based on photos of his foster minor daughter, taken – as lawyers argued – for medical purposes. The psychiatric examination carried out during the court proceedings did not show any deviations from Dmitryev and in the spring of 2018 he was acquitted. However, the Supreme Court of Karelia canceled the acquittal, and a new criminal case was opened against the historian, accusing him of committing sexual acts against his foster daughter.

In 2020, a court in Petrozavodsk in northern Russia sentenced him to 3.5 years in prison. Subsequently, the regional Supreme Court in the republic of Karelia allowed the appeal of the prosecutor’s office and aggravated the sentence up to 13 years in a penal colony.

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Yuri Dmitriev in front of the court. Archival photo Igor Podgorny TASS via Getty Images

Memorial reply

Yuri Dmitriev is a famous historian and head of the branch of Memorial in Karelia documenting Stalinist crimes. He was looking for burial places of the victims of repression. At the end of the 1990s, he discovered the mass graves of the victims of terror from 1937-1938 in the Sandarmoch forest area near Miedwieżjegorska. He is the author of many scientific publications.

Memorial Association believes that the criminal case against the activist was faked for political reasons, on the basis of articles of the Penal Code that dishonor Dmitryev’s reputation. Many public figures spoke out in defense of Dmitriyev. The diplomatic services of the EU and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs appealed for his release.

Main photo source: Igor Podgorny TASS via Getty Images



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