A Russian court has decided to extend the prison sentence of the Stalinist scholar Yuri Dmitriev from 13 to 15 years. A court in the city of Petrozavodsk approved the request of the Prosecutor’s Office on Monday, the human rights organization Memorial announced on the online Twitter service. Dmitriev is the head of the regional organization Memorial. The memorial itself is seriously threatened with closure by the Russian judiciary.
65-year-old Dmitriev is known for his research into Stalin-era crimes. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in September 2020 for the alleged sexual assault. The Public Prosecutor then requested a two-year sentence extension in December 2020. Human rights activists denounce the allegations of abuse against the historian as flimsy and criticize his conviction as politically motivated.
Tensions between Russia and Germany
With his research, Dmitriev drew attention to one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history. He devoted himself for years to dealing with repression in the Soviet era. His investigations also led to the discovery of a mass grave containing the remains of about 9,000 people who were shot during the Soviet Union.
Dmitriev’s conviction also led to tensions between Russia, Germany and France last year. Governments in Berlin and Paris criticized the prison sentence at the time. Then your ambassadors were summoned by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The ministry criticized “an act of interference in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation” and an attempt “to challenge the decision of independent Russian courts”. (AFP)
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