On 23 March, a Russian court prolonged the period of detention of respected historian and chairman of the Karelia branch of the Memorial Historical Society, Yuri Dmitriev, until 25 June 2020. Yuri Dmitriev was initially arrested in December 2016 on questionable grounds. The charges brought against him have already led to his detention for over two years pending re-trial.
The European Union expects Russia to uphold its international human rights obligations, including those related to the prohibition of arbitrary detention and the respect for fair trials.
We urge the Russian authorities to reconsider the case of Mr Dmitriev, taking into account his age and state of health at a testing time globally, and release him. We expect the charges against him to be dropped.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it presents, access to health care in prisons and detention facilities worldwide must be ensured. The European Union calls on the Russian authorities to protect inmates from the coronavirus by providing them with access to suitable medical assistance or granting amnesty to some prisoners as necessary.