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Tatarstan Police Chief Fired Over Alleged Torture Death

  • RFE/RL

Decommissioned police officer Ramil Akhmetzyanov, one of those accused in the death of detainee Sergei Nazarov, is seen during a court hearing in Kazan on March 14.

Decommissioned police officer Ramil Akhmetzyanov, one of those accused in the death of detainee Sergei Nazarov, is seen during a court hearing in Kazan on March 14.

Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev has fired the head of the police station in Tatarstan where officers allegedly raped a suspect in custody with a champagne bottle, leading to the man's death.

The death of 52-year-old Sergei Nazarov last week in Kazan has led to a public outcry, with rights activists calling for the firing of the interior minister of the central Russian region of Tatarstan.

Nurgaliyev announced the firing of Sergei Yefremov, head of the Dalny police station in Kazan, where the alleged incident occurred, on March 15.

Nurgaliyev said he was also reprimanding Tatarstan Interior Minister Asgat Safarov over the incident.

Four police officers from the Dalny police station have been charged with abusing their positions and deliberately inflicting serious physical harm in connection with the case.

The four -- all in their mid-20s -- deny the charges.

The swiftness of the political fallout is unusual in a region where similar cases have gone unpunished or in fact uninvestigated -- including one incident of a deputy director of a local engineering school whose father claimed his son's hands and feet were bound together when he died in custody.

On March 15, dozens of people picketed Tatarstan's Interior Ministry in Kazan, demanding justice for Nazarov.

The protesters brought champagne-bottle-shaped balloons and demanded Safarov be dismissed.

WATCH: Dozens protest against alleged police brutality in Kazan

With reporting by RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir and Russian services, ITAR-TAS, Interfax, and AFP

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