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Russian police arrest a previously acquitted human rights activist

Update: The Petrozavodsk City Court has placed Yuri Dmitriev under arrest for at least two months, while police build their case against him.

The Russian authorities are again investigating the historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev for alleged violent sexual actions. The case comes two weeks after the Karelian Supreme Court overturned his acquittal on child pornography and sexual abuse charges. On the evening of June 27, police officers detained Dmitriev as he tried to leave the city of Petrozavodsk. If convicted, he faces between 12 and 20 years in prison.

Dmitriev is the 62-year-old director of the Karelian branch of the human rights organization “Memorial,” whose activists and scholars have faced police persecution across Russia.

On April 5, the Petrozavodsk City Court found Dmitriev not guilty of charges related to his adopted 12-year-old daughter, though it also sentenced him to 2.5 years probation for the supposed illegal possession of a weapon. Dmitriev’s lawyer is sure that state prosecutors pressured his client's adopted daughter and her grandmother into challenging the acquittal. Local prosecutors also appealed the ruling.