Russia extends prison term for Stalin purges researcher
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Russian court extended prison sentence for activist investigating Stalinist-era crackdown to 15 years
MOSCOW – A Russian court on Monday extended the prison sentence for an activist who investigated the Stalinist-era crackdown to 15 years on what he says are trumped-up charges.
Youri Dmitriyev, 65, rose to fame after discovering mass graves of victims of Stalinist repressions. He was arrested for sexually abusing his adopted daughter, which human rights activists dismissed as fabricated and politically motivated.
Dmitriyev has been charged with producing child pornography, indecent acts and illegal possession of part of a weapon. He was acquitted in 2018 to reopen the case a few months later.
On Monday, the sentence was further extended to 15 years by the municipal court in Petrozavodsk, in the Russian region of Karelia, on the border with Finland. Dmitriyev’s defense lawyers plan to appeal the ruling.
According to investigators, Dmitriyev has been accused of fabricating pornography by taking nude photos of his daughter. Experts in the first trial found that the photographs were not pornographic.
Dmitriyev was the head of the Karelian branch of the Memorial Human Rights Center, which recognizes him as a political prisoner. The European Union and several Russian cultural figures have called on the Russian authorities to drop the charges.
The Memorial Human Rights Center, a leading group that studies and documents political repression in the Soviet Union, is at risk of shutting down in Russia for allegedly failing to use the “foreign agent” label on everything. its publications and to justify terrorism. The court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
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