A policeman in St. Petersburg was fined nearly $800 for failing to report on his partner’s fatal beating of a suspect while in police custody.
Russia has long faced criticism for its use of brutal force by police, an issue that human rights groups argue is unquantifiable because there is no law explicitly criminalizing torture by police authorities. Almost a quarter of Russians surveyed by the human rights group Public Verdict and Moscow's Metodicheskaya Laboratoriya last year said they witnessed or experienced beatings by police.
On Tuesday, a court in St. Petersburg found Officer Artyom Blyzhkov guilty of abuse of powers and fined him 50,000 rubles ($790), the court system reported on its Telegram channel.
Blyzhkov’s failure to report his colleague for beating a suspect to death in August 2017 constituted a neglect of his professional duties, the court said in a public filing.
Blyzhkov was fired in May 2018, according to the St. Petersburg-based Fontanka.ru news website. Blyzhkov’s partner, identified in court records only by his last name, Anfilatov, is scheduled to be tried on July 12.
The court censured Blyzhkov for not stepping in: “Pursuing personal interest by concealing the criminal acts out of a sense of solidarity and friendly intentions, [Blyzhkov] didn’t take measures to stop the crime.”