MOSCOW(Reuters) – A Russian human rights activist who helped to expose the Stalin-era Great Terror and found mass graves of thousands of the victims was freed from jail, while pending trial on child pornography charges, local media reported on Saturday.
Yuri Dmitriev, 61, is on trial in northwest Russia on charges brought by state prosecutors of involving his adopted daughter, then 11, in child pornography, of illegally possessing “the main elements of” a firearm, and of depravity involving a minor.
The Memorial human rights group, for which he works, said, citing Novaya Gazeta, that Dmitriev arrived at home on Saturday morning.
He denies the charges, saying he took the pictures of the daughter were made for a diary to present the evidence of the improved state of health for the state child care organisations.
Some of Russia’s leading cultural figures say Dmitriev was framed because his focus on Stalin’s crimes – he found a mass grave with up to 9,000 bodies dating from the Soviet dictator’s Great Terror in the 1930s – jars with the latter-day Kremlin narrative that Russia must not be ashamed of its past.