Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Debate Over Police Reform Heats Up – Police At War With Its Own Citizens

Posted by Info on 28/11/2009

A spate of violence, including at least two fatal beatings this month, has left the Interior Ministry struggling to repair the image of the country’s already notorious keepers of the peace – police.

The latest blow was the revelation Thursday that a St. Petersburg citizen died in a hospital after suffering heavy stomach injuries. The 43-year-old died Nov. 12, a week after being rushed to the hospital because police beat him severely after responding to a drunken brawl in an apartment.

On Tuesday, three drunken Moscow police officers were detained after they beat an Abkhaz man to death, posing an early challenge to the city’s new police chief. His predecessor was sacked after a police major killed three and wounded six during a supermarket shooting rampage in April.

Human rights leaders widely criticized last week’s death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed for almost a year in Moscow prisons awaiting trial on tax-evasion charges related to a dispute with the Interior Ministry.

But the debate only reached ­political prime time when Makarov, a deputy head of the Budget and Taxes Committee, told reporters Wednesday that the public felt the Russian police were waging a war against its own citizens.

“You can neither modernize nor reform the Interior Ministry. You can only abolish it,” Makarov said….more here

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