PEN Russia Issues Statement on Stanislav Dmitriyevsky

PEN Russia Issues Statement on Stanislav Dmitriyevsky. Russian writer, editor and human rights activist Stanislav Dmitriyevsky was in court once again last month as the Nizhny Novgorod Prosecutor’s Office called for the banning of his 1,200-page book, co-authored with Oksana Chelysheva and Bogdan Guareli, on human rights abuses committed during the years of armed conflict in the Chechen Republic. The trial, which commenced on 6 December 2012, centres round the allegation that Dmitriyevsky’s book is “extremist” in content. The next hearing is to be held on 11 April 2013. PEN Russia issued the following statement on Dmitriyevsky’s case after the 18 December 2012 hearing of his trial:

To the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Dear Yuri Yakovlevich

On the 18 Dec 2012, in the Dzerzhinsky Region Court of the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (judge Olga Haidukova), there continued the examination of the case brought by the public prosecutor of the city of Nizhny Novgorod concerning the designation of the monograph written by Stanislav Dmitrievski and his co-authors, “International Tribunal for Chechnya” as extremist material.

The human rights writers’ organisation, the Russian branch of PEN International, “Russian PEN”, is outraged by what are egregious breaches of justice. It turns out the parties representing the plaintiff, the assistant to the public prosecutor Sergey Babushkin and the representative of the Ministry of Justice Ilya Ataman-Zaharchenko, who refer to the two-volume study as a “leaflet”, have not read the books at all. Babushkin stated directly that his conviction in the extremist nature of the monograph was founded on undying faith in the experts, and Ataman-Zaharchenko plainly stated that he had not read the books, however he had no basis upon which to disbelieve the opinions of the experts.

The defendants are convinced that the examinations have not been carried out at the appropriate level. The “Act of Expert Investigations” by Larisa Teslenko and Svetlana Filimonova pertaining to the case testifies to their lack of qualification. In particular, the experts do not make the distinction between negative evaluations and extremism, statements by the author and quotations, and they do not go to the length of making references, which makes the investigation completely unprofessional. A two-volume book cannot unequivocally express one sole position, it will always weigh up the fors and the against. It is of great concern to us that the investigation is being carried out by people who have not read the book and who are relying on unqualified examinations.

The next session is set for 11th April 2013. It would be preferable if in this time, the plaintiffs became familiar with the content of the books, and did not refer solely to the opinions of experts.

For More Information:

Human Rights Watch:

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty:

2-part online PDF of the book (Russian):