Week-ending 18 December 2020
This year Yury Dmitriev is one of the laureates of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
About the prize: Every year since 2016, to mark Human Rights Day, Germany and France have jointly presented the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Whether they be a human rights defender, a journalist or a lawyer: this award recognises the efforts of all those who work tirelessly every day to advance the causes of human rights and the rule of law.
About Yury Dmitriev: The historian Yury Dmitriev has been in pretrial detention since 2016. Prior to this he had served as head of the Karelian branch of the human rights NGO Memorial since the 1980s, researching and publicising mass executions carried out in the forest of Sandarmokh under Stalin’s rule. Memorial campaigns within Russia for human rights and efforts to address historical human rights violations, as well as remembrance of the victims of Stalinist repression. Over almost 30 years, Dmitriev compiled a list of 40,000 names of people executed or deported during the Great Terror, and discovered historical mass graves in Sandarmokh and Krasny Bor and on the Solovetsky Islands. He deserves particular recognition for his exceptional commitment to addressing historical crimes in the former Soviet Union and preserving the memory of the Stalinist Terror despite sometimes significant opposition, not least from official Russian policy on the country’s past.
The Franco-German Prize for Human Rights: the 2020 laureates, Website
See also: Memorial Human Rights Centre, Website
And: RFE/RL, 14 December 2020: Russian historian Yury Dmitriyev, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison on a controversial child sexual-abuse charge that he and his supporters have rejected as politically motivated, has been named among the recipients of the 2020 Franco-German Human Rights and the Rule of Law prize. The Moscow-based Memorial Human Rights Center said on December 14 that Dmitriyev was among 13 rights defenders who became laureates this year of the prize established in 2016 by the foreign ministries of France and Germany to honor individuals who have contributed to the defense of human rights in their countries and on an international level. Dmitriyev, 64, who is the head of the local branch of Memorial in the northwestern Russian region of Karelia, is currently on trial again, this time on a charge of producing child pornography, which he and his supporters also reject as politically motivated.