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Moscow Police Accused of Raping Anti-Draft Activist

Artyom Kamardin reading poems critical of the Russian military on Mayakovsky Square in Moscow on Sept. 25, 2022.

The article contains graphic content which may be disturbing to some readers.

An anti-mobilization activist was hospitalized in Moscow after he was apparently raped and abused by police, independent media outlet Novaya Gaztea Europe reported Monday.

Police raided the home of Artyom Kamardin and other anti-war activists filmed reading poems critical of the Russian military on Mayakovsky Square on Sunday.

Russia has made public criticism of what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine punishable by fines or prison time.

Officers “beat up Kamardin very badly and stuck a dumbbell in his anus,” according to Novaya Gazeta Europe.

His lawyer Leonid Solovyov corroborated that account to the Kommersant newspaper Tuesday, but said Kamardin was not in need of hospitalization.

Telegram channels with links to Russian security services later published videos of Kamardin and two other detainees apologizing for their actions on their knees.

Kamardin was charged with “inciting hatred,” a crime punishable by up to six years in prison, Novaya Gazeta Europe cited his lawyer Solovyov as saying.

Video broadcast by the independent online news outlet Sota early Tuesday showed the disheveled Kamardin emerging out of a Moscow police station accompanied by ambulance workers. He did not comment on the alleged abuse.

Alexandra Popova, another anti-war activist who was detained alongside Kamardin, was also beaten, had her face superglued and was threatened with gang rape, according to Sota, which cited Popova herself. 

The incidents took place amid some of the biggest sustained protests since Russia invaded Ukraine, triggered by President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a “partial” mobilization last week. 

Independent monitors say at least 2,000 protesters have been detained since last Wednesday. Flights out of Russia to available destinations have been sold out over the past week, while Russia’s land borders with neighboring countries saw a surge in traffic in the past week.

In an incident separate from Kamardin and Popova, Sota reported late Monday that anti-war activist Daria Ivanova was “strangled, kicked, punched, grabbed by the hair and beaten against the surrounding objects” by officers in her Moscow apartment.

Ivanova was later charged with “discrediting the Russian Armed Forces” and ordered to appear for questioning.

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