A Russian court sentenced historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev to three years and six months of imprisonment. Mr Dmitriev has already been detained for over 3 years.
The charges brought against Yuri Dmitriev – head of the Karelia branch of the Moscow-based human rights group Memorial - appear to have been prompted by his human rights work and his research on political repression in the Soviet period contributing to uncovering mass burial sites. His treatment is part of a worsening trend of arrests and discrediting of human rights defenders in the Russian Federation. This verdict risks to further shrink the space for civil society and independent voices in the country.
The European Union calls on the Russian authorities to release Mr Dmitriev immediately and unconditionally, on humanitarian grounds, taking into account his age and state of health in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.