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Russian Court Adjourns Gulag Historian Dmitriyev's Trial Until July 23

Russian historian Yury Dmitriyev (file photo)

PETROZAVODSK, Russia -- The trial of Yury Dmitriyev, a Russian historian and renowned gulag researcher charged with sexually assaulting his adopted daughter, has been adjourned until July 23.

The Petrozavodsk City Court on June 19 questioned Dmitriyev's daughter after removing the human rights activist from the courtroom, as the high-profile, closed-door trial that began in December continues.

Dmitriyev’s lawyer, Viktor Anufriyev, told RFE/RL that the judge had extended his client's detention until September 19 and set July 23 for the trial's next session.

Dmitriyev's supporters have said the case was brought against him because he exposed a side of history that complicates the Kremlin's glorification of the Soviet past.

The 62-year-old heads the Karelia branch of the Moscow-based human rights group Memorial, whose decades-long efforts to expose the extent of Stalin's crimes have met with opposition from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dmitriyev was arrested in 2016 on child-pornography charges based on photographs of his adopted daughter that authorities found on his computer.

He has proclaimed his innocence, contending that the images were not pornographic and that the charges are an attempt to stall his work investigating Stalin-era crimes.

A local court acquitted Dmitriyev in April 2018, but the Karelia Supreme Court subsequently upheld an appeal by prosecutors and ordered a new trial.

The historian was rearrested in June 2018 and is currently on trial on the more severe charge of "violent acts of a sexual nature committed against a person under 14 years of age" -- again referring to his daughter.