Police in Russia’s Ural Mountains have been accused of torturing teenage theft suspects to force a confession amid increasing evidence of torture in the prison system.
The families of two teenage boys and one girl accused Sverdlovsk region officers of attempting to coerce the group into confessing to stealing a phone and a bank card from a handbag this summer. The violent interrogations continued in the town of Kamensk-Uralsky from July 17 to July 20, the Ura.ru news website reported Wednesday.
“They beat me with a pillow with something heavy inside,” said Denis, 17, one of the three teens whose names have been changed.
Lena, 15, reported that an investigator had hit her in the kidneys with a similarly heavy pillow after she refused to confess.
Denis said police called an ambulance after “they pressed me so hard that I lost consciousness.” On the fourth day, when they were forced into signing a confession, Denis said he was beaten inside a police car after refusing to dig his "own grave” in the forest.
All three accused the head of a local police station, Alexei Andreyev, of personally assaulting them. The third teenager, Alik, was accused of immediately confessing and implicating Denis and Lena, who continue to maintain their innocence.
Lena’s grandmother Natalia said she got through to the police station on the fourth day of the interrogation, where she encountered “screams, cigarette smoke, profanity and cognac-drinking.”
Kamensk-Uralsky prosecutors said they had reprimanded the police station for previous violations and promised to look into the interrogation of the three minors.
The city’s police also said they would investigate the torture allegations if requested.