Avalanche of torture complaints hits Russian police

AFP , Monday 2 Apr 2012

After one detainee allegedly died from torture, 65 new complaints about police brutality at the same police station have emerged

The Russian police station at the centre of a national torture scandal after a detainee was raped with a bottle and died is the subject of 65 new complaints of police violence, prosecutors said on Monday.

Russian prosecutor Sergei Zaitsev said an initial inquiry into the 11 March death of Sergei Nazarov, who was raped with a champagne bottle while police questioned him on suspicion of theft, uncovered 65 additional complaints of violence at the Dalny police station in the central Russian city of Kazan.

"These citizen complaints are in the hands of the attorney general and will be examined objectively and in minute detail," Nazarov said in a statement.

Police officers from the station have already been charged as part of investigations into seven incidents.

The death of Nazarov, 52, has led to numerous accusations of torture, some of them deadly, in Russian police stations.

While officials dismissed the Dalny case as an isolated incident, rights activists and victims have spoken out, painting a bleak picture of systematic police violence that goes largely unpunished.

In their statement, prosecutors stressed "the need to train officers in a serious way so they have a deep sense of respect for the rights and freedoms of citizens."

Additionally, prosecutors said they were launching cases against officers from three other stations in Kazan for violence carried out against three victims in April and October last year. In one case, a victim had been sodomised with a bottle.

Prosecutors also said two officers from a station in Ulyanovsk, some 700 kilometres (430 miles) from Moscow, will be charged with beating two suspects in November to try to make them confess to crimes they had not committed.

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