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Russian historian who uncovered Stalin's mass graves has sentence increased by a decade

The graves, located in what used to be part of Finland, also contained the bodies of hundreds of Finns.

Juri Dmitrijev Petroskoin oikeustalon edessä keväällä 2018.
File photo of Yury Dmitriyev from 2018. Image: Kerstin Kronvall / Yle

Russia's Supreme Court of Karelia significantly increased the prison sentence of a well-known historian in a controversial exploitation case to 13 years, nearly four times his original sentence.

The court's decision has widely been regarded as politically-motivated. Yury Dmitriyev was originally sentenced by a Russian city court in July to 3.5 years in prison for sexually abusing his adopted daughter.

Dmitriyev is known around the world for uncovering crimes carried out by Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin.

During his research in the late 1990's, Dmitriyev located the secret mass graves at Sandarmokh and Krasnyi Bor in the Republic of Karelia, where thousands of people, including hundreds of Finns, were shot and buried during Stalin's Great Terror in the late 1930s.

According to Reuters news agency, due to time he'd already served, Dmitriyev would have been freed in November. But on Tuesday the supreme court announced that the 64-year old's sentence would be increased to 13 years, in a high-security penal colony.

Dmitriyev's initial child pornography charges related to his adopted daughter were cleared in 2018, but the decision was overturned and he was arrested on new charges not long afterwards, Reuters reported.

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