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Russian cop alleged to have taken part in torture of teenage suspect who died in custody gets pay-out for prosecution stress

Russian cop alleged to have taken part in torture of teenage suspect who died in custody gets pay-out for prosecution stress
A sacked police officer from eastern Siberia has been handed a lump sum as compensation for the mental stress of being under investigation for murder, after the death of a 17-year-old youth in custody.

The local District Court in Ulan-Ude on Tuesday awarded a former junior officer, who remains unnamed, with a 270,000 ruble ($3,670) pay-out, citing damage to his health and reputation. He had previously been charged in a case that saw five police operatives guilty of abuse of authority over the death of Nikita Kobelev in 2016.

Kobelev had been detained on suspicion of stealing a bicycle in the city, close to the Mongolian border. Officers took him and a friend to the local police station, where they led him down to the basement and forced him to put on a gas mask. They were then said to have cut off his oxygen supply by squeezing the intake tube as a form of torture. Two hours later, Kobelev was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, having choked on his own vomit.

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In November 2019, the court found five of the officers guilty of abusing their authority over the incident. Andrei Pavlov, the lead suspect in the case, was sentenced to eight years in prison, while others received shorter prison terms or probation. However, the junior member of the team benefiting from this week’s ruling was found not to have played a role in Kobelev’s death.

In January, local media reported that a 29-year-old had alleged that he had faced similarly brutal treatment in the same police station in Ulan-Ude. Vitaly Kuznetsov claims that, as part of an inquiry into illegal logging, he was forced into the basement, forced to kneel and then allegedly threatened with rape by an officer who exposed his genitals to him, adding that he would film and post footage from the attack online.

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