Security officials in St. Petersburg have reportedly admitted to mistreating an anti-fascist activist in detention saying it was a necessary part of doing their jobs.
Viktor Filinkov accused Federal Security Service (FSB) officers of torture after being detained on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government in January. The government's official prison watchdog, the Public Monitoring Commission, recorded burns on Filinkov’s body.
“The FSB acknowledged electric shock marks on Filinkov’s body, but explained it as a professional necessity,” the St. Petersburg-based Fontanka.ru news website reported Wednesday, citing the FSB officers’ testimony to investigators.
The officers said that only a stun gun could have stopped Filinkov from resisting arrest and attempting to escape, the outlet cited FSB officials’ testimony to the Investigative Committee.
The liberal opposition Yabloko party has identified Filinkov as one of several activists who have been subjected to political repressions in St. Petersburg in recent months.
The report comes a week after another St. Petersburg-based activist accused the FSB of torture and fled to Finland.
A Human Rights Watch report on Filinkov’s detention urged Russian authorities to “immediately end unlawful disappearances, promptly and effectively investigate allegations of torture, and ensure all future policing operations are conducted in strict accordance with due process and human rights standards.”