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Nearly 250 cultural figures sign letter calling for historian Yuri Dmitriev to undergo trial outside of Russia’s Karelia
Source: Meduza

A group of almost 250 people have signed a letter to the head of Karelia’s Supreme Court, Anatoly Nakvas, asking that the case against historian Yuri Dmitriev be transferred to another region. The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published the letter on its website.

“Fearing the lack of objectivity of the Republic of Karelia’s Supreme Court in the case of Yuri Dmitriev, we are asking you, Anatoly Vladimirovich [Nakvas], to transfer this case to a court in another region, republic, or krai of the Russian Federation,” the appeal says. 

There are a number of well-known figures among the letters’ signatories, including Russian rights defenders, academics, politicians, writers, journalists, actors, and film directors.

On July 22, 2020, the Petrozavodsk City Court found Yuri Dmitriev guilty of committing violent sexual actions against his underage foster daughter and sentenced him to three and a half years in prison. Dmitriev was acquitted of felony charges of creating child pornography and illegally owning a firearm.

On September 22, Karelia’s Supreme Court began considering the appeals against Dmitriev’s sentence, which has been challenged by both his defense lawyers (who are demanding he be acquitted) and the prosecutor’s office (which is seeking a 13-year prison sentence). 

As Interfax recalls, this is Dmitriev’s second trial. In 2018, a Petrozavodsk court acquitted him of charges of creating child pornography and committing violent sexual actions against his foster daughter. The court only found him guilty of illegal weapons possession. Later that year, the Karelian Supreme Court overturned the acquittal and sent the case for retrial.