Russian Court Convicts Eminent Gulag Historian on Sexual Abuse Charges

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Russian Court finds Yury Dimitriev guilty of sexual assault against his adopted daughter. The Court granted three years and six months of jail time. Supporters claim it is an effort to silence his work.

Background

Dimitriev is the head of an eminent rights group in Karelia, Russia. It is a part of the International Historical Educational Charitable and Human Rights Society. The group spent years locating mass graves of people killed under the Soviet Dictatorship of Stalin. The 64-year-old was charged for other crimes such as illegal arms possession and child pornography in 2016, but was acquitted. The regional Supreme Court overturned the verdict two months later. He was later charged for the sexual assault of his adopted daughter.

Dimitriev denies all allegations to this day. Dimitriev is supported by many international groups who claim these charges to be politically inclined. The European Union also remarked that all charges against Dimitriev should be dropped.

Gulag and its History

The Gulag was a system of forced labour camps during Stalin’s reign. Established in 1919 and went on until Stalin’s death. It’s an acronym for Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei also called Main camp administration. Prisoners were forced to work in extreme conditions for several hours. They usually died of starvation and exhaustion.

Arguments

The prosecution claimed Dimitriev had sexually assaulted his daughter for years. They even contended for a 15-year jail term. The Court deviated from this and gave a far lesser time. The defence lawyer gave an official statement that Dimitriev has been convicted on accounts of sexual assault against his adopted daughter. He added that he would be released by the end of this year due to the pretrial detention. The questions were raised regarding the highly politicized judicial systems in Russia. Including questions regarding the involvement of President Putin and his motives to keep Dimitriev suppressed.

Court’s Decision

The Court sentenced him to 3 years and six months of prison time. But due to the time spent in Pretrial detention, he will be released in a few months.


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