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Picketers In Samara Protest 'Illegal Actions' By Police

Russian police on horseback

Russian police on horseback

SAMARA, Russia -- Over 50 activists in the Russian city of Samara in the Volga region protested today against "illegal actions" by the police, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The demonstrators gathered in front of the Samara Oblast prosecutor's office and demanded a full and transparent investigation into the death last month of former Samara city council deputy Georgy Kutuzov.

On March 11, Kutuzov said a group of mounted police in Samara detained him for reasons that were unclear and handcuffed him to the stirrup of one of their horses. He said the frightened horse bolted, dragging him with it.

Kutuzov sustained multiple injuries, including skull fractures. Kutuzov died on May 22 of his injuries.

Police launched a preliminary investigation into the incident, but no one has been charged.

One of today's picketers, Mikhail Matveyev, who is a deputy in the Samara Oblast Duma, told RFE/RL that the authorities were trying to cover up the incident. He said that if the case was ignored, police would do even worse things to ordinary citizens.

The activists are collecting signatures to an online petition addressed to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urging him to intervene in the case.