Sun, Mar 18, 2012 - Page 6 News List

Kazan police station in Russia subject to third brutality probe

AFP, MOSCOW

Officials investigating reports that police in eastern Russia beat up and raped a prisoner who subsequently died said on Friday they had uncovered a third case of brutality at the same station.

A 24-year-old man from Kazan, in the Tatarstan region, was arrested for the alleged theft of a mobile phone and taken to the Dalny station on March 6, the investigating committee said in a statement.

“They asked him to confess and when he refused they put the handcuffs on the man and beat and kicked him before subjecting him to other violence,” the statement said.

Investigators have opened an inquiry into abuse of power and excessive violence.

Four officers at the station are already at the center of an investigation into the death of 52-year-old Sergei Nazarov on Saturday last week after he was allegedly beaten up and sodomized with a champagne bottle while in detention.

While the four officers have denied the allegations, a fifth has confessed to the assault, police said.

In another alleged incident at the same station, officers are reported to have beaten a 20-year-old woman, Alia Sadykova, to get her to confess to a theft.

More cases are coming to light, local rights groups said: half a dozen people have approached them saying they had been beaten up or abused with bottles at the Dalny station.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev denounced the killing of Nazarov in comments yesterday, but has resisted calls for sanctions against higher-ranking officials.

Former Russian Interpol bureau head Vladimir Ovchinsky said that it is Nurgaliyev himself who should go.

There have been numerous scandals involving cases of police corruption, brutality and even murder in Russia, despite a promise by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would make reforms of the service a priority.

In Kazan on Thursday, activists demonstrated outside the regional police headquarters protesting police abuse in the city.

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