Defense in Dmitriev Case Asks for Acquittal of Historian on All Charges
March 22, 2018
Yuri Dmitriev’s defense attorney Viktor Anufriev. Photo by Valery Potashov. Courtesy of Chernika
On March 22, defense attorney Viktor Anufriev made his closing arguments in Petrozavodsk City Court, where the criminal case against Yuri Dmitriev, the famous researcher of Stalin’s Great Terror, has been heard in closed chambers. Mr. Anufriev asked the court to acquit Mr. Dmitriev on all counts, including the main charge, production of child pornography using his foster daughter.
“I was given the time to make a closing argument, which is what I did. I asked that Yuri Alexeyevich be acquitted on all counts and explained to the court why it should do this,” Mr. Anufriev told reporters after the hearing.
Defendant Yuri Dmitriev and his eldest daughter Katya in the courthouse hallway. Photo by Valery Potashov. Courtesy of Chernika
He noted that Mr. Dmitriev had indeed taken photographs of his foster daughter when she was naked, but that these actions were not evidence of the crime of which the historian had been accused.
“There was no sexual motive. He is not a pedophile. He is mentally fit, and he made the photographs in order to monitor the child’s health. His objectives were medical. This was the conclusion of the last two forensic examinations, which were trustworthy, I would say,” Mr. Anufriev emphasized.
Commenting on the closing argument of Prosecutor Yelena Askerova, who two days earlier had asked the court to sentence Mr. Dmitriev to nine years in a maximum security penal colony, Mr. Anufriev noted that the criminal charges against the researcher had been filed unlawfully.
Petrozavodsk Prosecutor Yelena Askerova. Photo courtesy of Guberniya Daily and Chernika
“He was arrested without sufficient cause, and the foster daughter was removed from his custody and taken out of the city. This what was caused mental harm to the child, not Yuri Alexeyevich’s actions.”
Mr. Anufriev also voiced the opinion that Petrozavodsk Prosecutor Yelena Askerova’s decision to ask the court to find Mr. Dmitriev guilty on all counts of the original charges was made by the Karelian Prosecutor’s Office.
“The prosecutor’s office is an agency where everyone wears a uniform and has a rank. There is a chain of command. The law says prosecutor’s offices are independent. But they are not independent when it comes to stating their position today. They have vetted their position with the prosecutor’s office that oversees them, so it follows that the overseeing prosecutor gave the command to press for a guilty verdict,” Mr. Anufriev told reporters.
Judge Marina Nosova asked the bailiffs not to let people into the courtroom. Photo by Valery Potashov. Courtesy of Chernika
According to Mr. Anufriev, on March 27, the parties to the trial will be given time to make counterarguments, and then the judge will allow Mr. Dmitriev to make a closing statement before retiring to chambers to deliberate her decision. It is noteworthy that even before today’s hearing in the Dmitriev case, Judge Marina Nosova asked the court bailiffs not to let people who had come to support Mr. Dmitriev get near the courtroom doors.
Mr. Dmitriev’s trial in Petrozavodsk City Court began in June 2017. He was remanded in police custody for over a year and was only released from the remand prison after undergoing an inpatient forensic examination at the Serbsky National Medical Research Center for Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine in Moscow. The examining physicians concluded the defendant had no pedophilic propensities whatsoever.
Thanks to Victoria Andreyeva for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader