Yuri Dmitriev. Photo by David Frenkel. Courtesy of Kommersant
Defense Lawyer Reports Cellmates Tried to Force Karelia Memorial Head Yuri Dmitriev to Pen Confession
May 30, 2019
His cellmates in the Petrozavodsk Remand Prison tried to force Yuri Dmitriev, historian and head of the Memorial Society in Karelia, to submit a written confession, defense lawyer Viktor Anufriev told Kommersant.
According to Anufriev, in late April, the inmates threatened to sodomize Dmitriev if he did not confess.
“It went on for four days. Dmitriev told the remand prison’s wardens if it continued, he would have to defend his life and honor, and someone might end up dead,” said Anufriev.
Ultimately, Dmitriev was moved to another cell.
Dmitriev has been accused of sexually assaulting his foster daughter. Last year, a court acquitted the historian of sexually abusing the girl and producing pornography. The verdict was soon quashed, however, and Dmitriev was sent back to remand prison.
Dmitriev is best known for unearthing mass graves of victims of the Stalinist Great Terror at Sandarmokh in Karelia and establishing a memorial on the site, where over nine thousand people were executed. Dmitriev has argued the criminal cases against him were provoked by his efforts to memorialize the victims of political terror in the Soviet Union.
Translated by the Russian Reader