Thursday, January 13, 2005


Information is only now beginning to emerge about a "preventive operation", similar to the "mopping-up operations" (zachistka) common in Chechnya, which was carried out on December 10 by Russian police in Blagoveshchensk, a town in the autonomous region of Bashkortostan. The BBC reports that during the operation, hundreds of young men were allegedly detained and beaten. According to the BBC
human rights activists say riot police swarmed the town and began arresting men aged between 15 and 30. More than 1,000 men, in a town with a population of 30,000, were reportedly taken to police stations, where many were beaten and humiliated.

The incident is apparently not an isolated one - other communities in the region have recently suffered similar assaults by police.

The report concludes:
But police abuses are widespread across the country. Human Rights Watch reported last year on the "massive and systematic" use of torture by police in Russia.

Travel guides warn tourists travelling to Russia that they are more likely to get mugged or beaten by policemen than by ordinary criminals.

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