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Historian Of Stalin-Era Crimes In Court For Sexual Assault, His Second Trial This Year

PETROZAVODSK, Russia -- The trial of Yury Dmitriyev, a Russian historian charged with sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, has started in the northwestern region of Karelia.

Speaking to reporters outside Petrozavodsk City Court after the trial began behind closed doors on December 18, defense lawyer Viktor Anufriyev said that Dmitriyev maintained his innocence.

Supporters of Dmitryev contend that he is being victimized by Russian authorities who want to keep the state crimes of the Soviet era under wraps.

"Yury Alekseyevich [Dmitriyev] refused to accept guilt...and that is my position as well," Anufriyev said.

He said prosecutors have provided no convincing evidence against his client.

Dmitriyev, 62, is the chief of the Moscow-based human rights group Memorial's branch in Karelia, which border Finland. He has worked for decades to expose crimes committed in the region by the Soviet state under dictator Josef Stalin.

Read entire article at Radio Free Europe