Russia reverts to worst Soviet times in reprisal sentence against historian of Terror Yury Dmitriev
Earlier, the Russian court replaced the lawyer chosen by Dmitriev with a public defender
UN human rights experts on Monday called on Russia to ensure a fair trial in the case of historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev amid fears that the case is politically motivated. The statement came after the court banned Dmitriev from using the services of his own lawyer and replaced him with a public defender..
«We are seriously concerned that this constitutes a violation of his right to a fair trial in an ongoing process that appears to be aimed at silencing him and denying the legitimacy of his work.», – experts said.
Dmitriev devoted his life to perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Stalinist repressions of the 1930s, including determining the places of executions and mass graves, as well as finding out the names of those buried. He has received international recognition and awards for his work.
The experts also drew attention to the fact that such efforts are not being carried out at the state level..
«In response to Mr Dmitriev’s tireless efforts to find the truth, the Russian authorities tried to silence him, questioning his moral and ethical qualities, and therefore the legitimacy of his historical work., – experts said. – Thus, they prevent millions of people, whose relatives were arrested or died in the Gulag, from finding answers to the question of what happened to their loved ones.».
The first case against Dmitriev was initiated in 2016: he was accused of making child pornography. In April 2018, he was acquitted, but then new charges were brought against him. – in violent acts of a sexual nature against a minor.
On January 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of Karelia upheld the decision of the Petrozavodsk City Court to provide a state-appointed lawyer instead of a lawyer chosen by Dmitriev himself.
«While the charges against Mr Dmitriev are extremely serious and must be thoroughly and independently investigated, such investigations must be conducted in good faith and without bias, following procedures that fully comply with fair trial standards, including the right to a lawyer of his choice.», – experts stressed