Russian court sentences human rights activist, Dmitriyev, for sexual misconduct

A Russian court on Wednesday sentenced historian and human rights activist, Yury Dmitriyev, to three-and-half years in prison in a controversial case that his supporters say was politically-motivated.

“Dmitriyev, 64, a leading researcher of Stalinist-era repression, was found guilty of sexual misconduct against his adopted daughter in the trial in the north-western city of Petrozavodsk,’’ Russian media reported.

His lawyer, Viktor Anufriyev, said in comments carried by the Russian news agency — Interfax –that Dmitriyev could be released within four months as the time he already spent in custody should be taken into account.

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Human Rights Watch said that authorities may have pursued the “prosecution of a human rights defender to smear his reputation.

“The prosecution has taken place in the context of efforts by Russian authorities to minimise Stalin’s crimes and tarnish independent groups that investigate abuses of the Stalin era and commemorate the victims,’’ Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

The Russian human rights group — Memorial, with which Dmitriyev worked, said the case appeared to have been fabricated.


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