Russia accused over police violence

A Council of Europe panel on Tuesday asked Russia to stop submitting suspects in police custody to ill-treatment following allegations of electric shocks, punches and other use of force that could be considered as amounting to torture.

AFP| Updated: Dec 18, 2013, 03:37 AM IST

Strasbourg: A Council of Europe panel on Tuesday asked Russia to stop submitting suspects in police custody to ill-treatment following allegations of electric shocks, punches and other use of force that could be considered as amounting to torture.

Published after visits to several Russian "places of deprivation of liberty" in 2012, a report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) highlighted allegations of "extensive beating and asphyxiation with a plastic bag".

"In Moscow and Saint Petersburg, most of the detained persons interviewed had no complaints about the manner in which they were treated by law enforcement officials," the CPT report said.

However, there were "some allegations of recent physical ill-treatment by members of law enforcement agencies in both cities".

The alleged ill-treatment -- consisting mainly of punches, kicks and baton blows -- mostly happened at the time of arrest by plain clothes officers, it was claimed in the report.

"In several cases, the officers apparently did not identify themselves as members of law enforcement agencies until they were inside their vehicle."
In one instance, "the severity of the ill-treatment alleged was such that it could be considered as amounting to torture (i.E. Extensive beating and asphyxiation with a plastic bag)".

The report said that during its "visit, the delegation again received allegations of corrupt practices by law enforcement officials, ... Asking detained persons or their relatives for money in order to arrange release".

The CPT recommended that Russian authorities continue to deliver to all law enforcement officials, including through ongoing training, the clear message that those who abuse their position in order to obtain money or other advantages from persons deprived of their liberty or their relatives will be the subject of appropriate sanctions.

It also "stressed that, in most of the regions visited, the only law enforcement agency subject of allegations of ill-treatment was the police".