Agents of the Russian security services
have allegedly beaten a Moscow State University graduate student for hanging a homemade Ukrainian flag from his dormitory window.
The student, who has not been
identified, made the flag from two pieces of fabric and waved it out
the window in the direction of a March 18 rally commemorating the
third anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.
The one-man demonstration was not
intended to be political, the MediaZona website reported, citing
statements by the grad student and his friend. Rather, the student
claims he intended to draw attention to the fact that state funds were
being spent on the festival, while the the university could not
afford to renovate its dormitory, which is infested with rats,
cockroaches and bed bugs.
However, law enforcement failed to see
a distinction. A dormitory security guard stopped the student when he
moved the protest to a stairwell window, where he believed the flag
would be more visible. Soon an officer of the university's police
force arrived with three plainclothes Federal Security Service (FSB)
The law enforcement officials forcibly
brought the student to his room, where they confiscated his camera,
mobile phone, and laptop, and then took him to the local office of
the Interior Ministry.
There, the police officer left the
student with the FSB officers, who began to aggressively interrogate
him. During the interrogation, they hit him on the head with an open
palm and jabbed him in the torso with a sharpened mop handle, “which
left cuts and abrasions,” the grad student's friend told MediaZona.
After two hours, the FSB agents forced
the student to write a statement that he agrees to work as an
informant for the FSB and the Interior Ministry's anti-extremism
center under the codename “graduate student.” Then, they returned
his computer, phone, and camera, and left.
Next, three police officers entered the
room and forced the grad student to write a confession that he had
waved the flag and used obscenity. The police then issued the student
a fine for “petty hooliganism,” and released him.
On March 20, the student visited a trauma clinic, where doctors recorded his injuries. Today, he appealed for help from Committee for the Prevention of Torture.