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Trial Starts For Russian Policeman Accused Of Beating Protesters


Photo of the "Pearl Ensign" during a protest in St. Petersburg in July 2010.

Photo of the "Pearl Ensign" during a protest in St. Petersburg in July 2010.

ST. PETERSBURG -- A Russian policeman has gone on trial charged with abusing demonstrators in St. Petersburg last summer, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Vadim Boiko became known in Russia as the "Pearl Ensign" after a video of a violent police action during a July 31 protest was posted online and showed an officer wearing a white-pearl bracelet. The video showed the officer, later identified as Boiko, insulting and beating demonstrators and dragging them by the hair.

The court today declined a request by Boiko's lawyer to send the case back to the St. Petersburg prosecutor's office for additional investigation, but agreed to ban online video coverage of the trial. The judge scheduled the next court session for February 24.

Boiko, who pleaded not guilty to the charge of abusing his authority as a police officer, could face 10 years in prison if found guilty. He was fired from his job and ordered not to leave St. Petersburg until the trial ends.

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