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Historian Of Stalin's Crimes, On Trial On Child Pornography Charges, Seeks Release To House Arrest

Russian historian Yury Dmitriyevin police custody earlier this year.

A lawyer for a Russian historian who is being tried on child pornography charges his supporters say are politically motivated has asked a court to move his client from jail to house arrest.

Defense attorney Viktor Anufriyev made the request at a November 29 hearing in Yury Dmitriyev's trial in Petrozavodsk, the capital of the northwestern region of Karelia.

The judge did not rule on the motion and adjourned the trial until November 30 after hearing testimony from witnesses.

Dmitriyev, who heads the Karelia chapter of the human rights group Memorial, has worked for decades to expose crimes committed there by the Soviet state under dictator Josef Stalin.

Investigators say Dmitriyev intended to use 49 nude photos of his foster daughter Natasha that were found in his personal computer to create pornographic material to share online. He is charged with "preparing and distributing child pornography."

Dmitriyev, his lawyer, and 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.

Each photograph was accompanied by notation of the girl's height, weight, and general health. Many of them appear to have been taken ahead of scheduled visits by social workers, possibly to document that Natasha had been well treated. According to social-services reports, nothing suspicious was ever noted.

Dmitriyev was arrested in December 2016 and went on trial on June 1.

With reporting by