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KAZAN, March 16 (Itar-Tass) — More than a hundred people gathered in front of the building of the Interior Ministry of Russia’s constituent region of Tatarstan Thursday for a meeting of protest against police arbitrariness.
The meeting was convened by human rights groups following a case of lethal sodomy committed by officers of Kazan’s Dalny police department against a detained man whom the policemen had suspected of a theft.
Sergei Nazarov, 52, died in hospital March 9 after the medics had diagnosed a rectum breakage “resultant from the use an edgeless object,” which according to Nazarov’s family members was a champagne bottle.
“The death of an innocent man suspected of a theft produced a resounding public effect in Tatarstan,” the organizers of the action said.
The participants were holding balloons in the form of champagne bottles, mourning wreaths and empty glass bottles in their hands. They chanted slogans demanding a disbandment of police units in Kazan and a resignation of the local Interior Minister.
“We speak out against the police outrages in Kazan, we want to defend our lives and we demand defense for our families,” one of the speakers at the protest action said.
They demanded that Interior Minister Asgat Safarov come out of the building and face them but their request remained unanswered.
The participants also tried to get inside the building with the mourning wreath but the guards did not let them in.
The meeting continued for about two hours, after which the participants went away.
The publicity given to the Nazarov case compelled the local authorities to arrest four Interior officials on charges of a purported infliction of heavy bodily damage and led to the exposure of at least another six cases of physical brutality and tortures the officers at the Dalny department resorted to.
Thursday, Russia’s Interior Ministry Rashid Nurgaliyev fired the chief of the notorious department from the police ranks.