The head of the Karelian branch of the Memorial society Yury Dmitriev, who has been accused of producing pornography, will have his final say in court on March 27. On March 26, activists and civil activists stood in one-person pickets in support of Dmitriev on the streets of Petrozavodsk. “7x7” journalist dropped by the protest.
Eight people have been standing for an hour in the city centre of Petrozavodsk. Some of them were holding the photos of Karelian historian, others were showing the banners that read “Hands off from Memorial”, “Let Yuri Dmitriev free!”, “No to rematch of NKVD [Soviet secret police – trans. Remark]! Yuri Dmitriev is a prisoner of conscious!”
Three men looked like hoboes were sitting on the bench nearby Studenchesky boulevard. They were discussing one of the posters saying “Dmitriev's case is Sandarmokh. 2016-2018”.
“Who's that dude standing here? Who's he defending?”
“Come on, this is Dmitriev, a cool man, he sits in jail for no f***ing reason, motherf***ers put him there!”
One of the passers-by got scares and immediately stepped aside from the one who was picketing.
“Don't take a picture of me, take a picture of him!”
“It's allright, no provocations!”
“I thought what if you were a provocateur”.
Vitaly Fleganov was standing next to the restaurant Yagel, he had a big banner signed by Libertarian Party of Russia.
According to the writer Sergey Filenko, only some of passers-by approached him with questions. Others scowled at him and passed by.
“I even prepared a response: “Why are you asking? Aren't you from the police by any chance”, as Cat Matroskin asked Pechkin [the characters of a well-know Russian cartoon – trans. remark]”, said Sergey Filenko.
Seven of the picketers stood along Lenin avenue.
A scientist, social and political activist Andrey Litvin stood next to the Key shopping mall, he was going for a one-person picket early in the morning of March 27, right before Yuri Dmitriev's final say.
Activists went for one-person pickets in support of Yuri Dmitriev also on March 25.
Yuri Dmitriev was detained on December 13, 2016 at his home. For more than one year he was kept in remand centre charged of pornography production. According to investigators, Dmitriev photographed his adopted daughter naked. The defence of the historian claims that it was about the photos from the girl's health diary, which Dmitriev was keeping for the guardianship authorities because his daughter was too thin. Experts adhere to the same point of view.
The court ordered two expertises of the photographs from Dmitriev's case. The second expertise showed that there were no signs of pornography in the pictures. On January 22, the Serbsky Institute conducted the psychiatric examination of Dmitriev, for this the historian was escorted to Moscow. On February 27, the court announced the results of the expertise –Yuri Dmitriev was proofed healthy.
The trial in Petrozavodsk started on June 1, 2017. The case is being heard in camera, so no visitors and journalists can attend the meetings. In addition to producing pornographic materials portraying minors, Dmitriev is accused of committing crimes under articles 135 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Committing indecent assaults in a non-violent way”) and 222 (“Illegal possession of firearms”).
On January 27, 2018 Yury Dmitriev left the remand centre by court order, since then the historian has been in detention.. In his first interview after the release, Dmitriev described his life in isolation and told about the plans to finish the book.
At the hearing on March 20, the prosecutor's office asked for nine years of imprisonment in a strict regime colony for Dmitriev.
The counsel Viktor Anufriev on March 22 called the Dmitriev case a “humiliation of the historian's daughter”.
More about Dmitriev's case can be found in Russian version of “7x7” at the link.
Sergey Markelov, «7х7»