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Vadim Boiko became known as the "Pearl Ensign" after a video of a police intervention was posted on the Internet showing a police officer, who looked like Boiko, insulting and beating demonstrators and dragging them by the hair.
A policeman in St. Petersburg allegedly involved in beating and insulting demonstrators has reportedly been assaulted himself, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Police officer Vadim Boiko was reportedly attacked on September 15, but the incident was made public only today.

Boiko was hospitalized with a concussion and other head injuries. He told journalists who came to the hospital that an unknown man had approached him shouting: "This is your punishment, Pearl Ensign!" and hit him on the head.

Boiko said that the attack on him is most likely connected with his "behavior during the public gathering on July 31."

Boiko became known as the "Pearl Ensign" after a video of a police intervention was posted on the Internet showing a police officer, who looked like Boiko, insulting and beating demonstrators and dragging them by the hair.

The policeman in the video wore a bracelet, and Internet users started calling him the "Pearl Ensign" before he was identified as Boiko.

Police in St. Petersburg opened an investigation after the video sparked protests in Russia.

On September 1, Boiko turned himself in to police and was identified by Dmitry Semenov, who was allegedly beaten and insulted when police violently dispersed the July 31 protest by activists demanding freedom of assembly.

Boiko was told by police not to leave the city until the investigation was completed. He was charged with abuse of power.

Investigative Journalism Agency deputy head Yevgeny Vyshenkov expressed doubt about the report of Boiko's beating. He said it was very strange that Boiko's ordeal and hospitalization was made public only several days after the reported attack.

"The government should react to such sort of attacks immediately, not a week later, no matter who the victim is -- the 'Pearl Ensign' or a leading journalist -- therefore the whole story looks like a dubious attempt to transform Boiko from a power abuser into a victim," Vyshenkov said.

If found guilty of abusing his position as a police officer, Boiko could face 10 years in jail.
Parvin Tajik is the sister of jailed journalist and rights activist Abdolreza Tajik (pictured)
The sister of jailed Iranian journalist and human rights activist Abdolreza Tajik is reported to have been charged with "spreading lies" and "assembly, conspiracy, and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime," RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Parvin Tajik was summoned on September 18 to Tehran's Evin prison and notified of the charges brought against her, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. She has been released on bail.

Abdolreza Tajik, a member of the Tehran-based Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), was arrested on June 12 for the third time since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June 2009. Since then Parvin Tajik has repeatedly given interviews to the media, expressing concern over her brother's condition.

In late July, Tajik's family wrote an open letter to the Iranian judiciary saying that Abdolreza had been "dishonored" in jail. Parvin Tajik told Radio Farda at the time that during a prison visit, her brother had told her he had been "dishonored" in the presence of a deputy prosecutor on the first night of his arrest.

Tajik's lawyer, Mohammad Sharif, told Radio Farda then that in Iranian judicial cases "being dishonored" is interpreted as "being sexually or physically assaulted."

Tajik was first taken into custody shortly after the election, but released after 46 days in Evin prison. He was rearrested on December 29.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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