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Russian Police Abuse Trial Continues

Former Russian police officer Vadim Boiko (left) during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg last July

Former Russian police officer Vadim Boiko (left) during an opposition protest in St. Petersburg last July

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The trial of a former Russian policeman accused of beating demonstrators has continued with the court hearing from five witnesses who testified against the defendant, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Vadim Boiko faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of abuse of power during the violent dispersal of an opposition demonstration last summer.

The case stems from a video that surfaced on the Internet in August, showing a policeman who looked like Boiko insulting some activists at a July 31 demonstration and beating them with his truncheon.

The policeman wore a pearl bracelet on his wrist and Internet users dubbed him the "Pearl Ensign." The policeman was later identified as Boiko, who was sacked from the police force and put on trial earlier this year.

The trial has been postponed several times due to the defendant's repeated hospitalization.

Those testifying during the hearing on May 24 at St. Petersburg's Kuybyshev district court included Vladimir Kostyushev

Kostyushev told RFE/RL that Boiko's lawyer sought to highlight discrepancies between his initial testimony last year and what he said in court.

"As it is almost one year since the day when it happened, I certainly forget some details, namely in August I said Boiko hit me on the temple with his truncheon, and today I stated in the courtroom that he hit me on the forehead," Kostyushev said. "Boiko's lawyer immediately recorded the difference as inconsistency in my testimony."

Meanwhile Yelizaveta Nepara, who represents alleged victim Dmitry Semyonov, told RFE/RL that she is satisfied with the way the trial is proceeding.

She said the video showing Boiko beating and insulting demonstrators will be shown at the next session, which is scheduled for June 8.

Boiko has pleaded not guilty.

Read more in Russian here