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Russian prosecutors seek longer prison sentence for historian Yuri Dmitriev

Source: TASS

The state prosecution in the trial of Yuri Dmitriev has asked to prolong the historian’s sentence, his lawyer Roman Masalev told TASS. This took place during a hearing at the Petrozavodsk City Court in Russia’s Karelia on Friday, December 3. 

“[The state prosecutor] asked to add two years to the current 13-year term and to appoint [a final sentence] of 15 years in prison,” said Masalev. The lawyer clarified that the prosecutor also asked that Dmitriev serve his sentence in a maximum-security prison colony. 

In December 2016, Yuri Dmitriev was accused of sexually abusing his underage foster daughter and using her to create child pornography. In April 2018, a court acquitted Dmitriev of the two charges, but convicted him of illegal firearms possession and sentenced him to 3.5 years of strict probation. Karelia’s Supreme Court later overturned the acquittal. 

In June 2018, reports emerged that the Russian authorities had launched another criminal case against Dmitriev for violent sexual assault against the same underage girl. Dmitriev was convicted and sentenced to 3.5 years in a maximum security penal colony. But in September 2020, Karelia’s Supreme Court opted to overturn this ruling and add nearly 10 years to Dmitriev’s prison sentence. On February 16, 2021, a St. Petersburg cassation court allowed the 13-year prison sentence to stand.

Yuri Dmitriev previously led the Karelina chapter of the prominent human rights group Memorial. He stands accused of sexually assaulting his underage foster daughter, creating child pornography, and illegal possession of a firearm. 

Memorial believes the case against Dmitriev is political. In 1997, the historian uncovered a mass grave made during the Stalinist terror in Karelia’s Sandarmokh forest massif. Dmitriev has also worked to compile memorial lists of local residents who were victims of Soviet era repression.