Prosecutors in a politically charged child-pornography case have asked a Russian court to convict Yury Dmitriyev, a historian and activist who says he is innocent, and sentence him to nine years in prison.
The newspaper Novaya Gazeta quoted Dmitriyev's lawyer, Viktor Anufriyev, on March 20 as saying that the case should not have been brought to trial at all.
Anufriyev said that medical and forensic experts determined in February that his client was not a pedophile and that 49 nude photographs of Dmitriyev's foster daughter, on which the case against him was built, were not pornography.
Dmitriyev, who heads the Karelia chapter of the prominent Russian human rights group Memorial, has worked for decades to expose crimes committed in the northwestern region of Karelia by the Soviet state under dictator Josef Stalin.
He was released from pretrial custody in late January on condition that he wouldn’t leave the northwestern city of Petrozavodsk without permission.
Investigators claim that Dmitriyev intended to use the photos, which were found on his personal computer, to create pornographic material to share online. He is charged with "preparing and distributing child pornography."
Dmitriyev and his colleagues say the photos were taken because medical workers had asked him to monitor the health and development of the girl, who was malnourished and unhealthy when he and his wife took her in at age 3 with the intention of adopting her. She is now 11 or 12 years old.
Dmitriyev was arrested in December 2016 and went on trial on June 1.
Anufriyev said that he will be given the floor at the trial on March 22, while his client will have a chance to make a final statement on March 27 before the verdict is pronounced.