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High-Profile Police Abuse Trial Resumes In Russia

Russian police officer Vadim Boiko (left) could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of abusing his authority.
Russian police officer Vadim Boiko (left) could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of abusing his authority.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- The trial of a former Russian policeman accused of abusing demonstrators continued today with the viewing of a video from the demonstration where the alleged crimes took place, 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 in St. Petersburg 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. Boiko has pleaded not guilty.

In the videos watched by the people in the courtroom, Boiko is seen hitting Dmitry Semyonov with a truncheon and dragging him by the hair, RFE/RL reports.

The video also showed an a passage of events in which demonstrators tried to get out of a police bus through the sunroofs, but police forced them inside by striking them and covering the sunroof with their bodies.

When the judge asked Semyonov if he recognized anyone in the video, he answered that he recognized himself, Boiko, and one of the witnesses in the trial.

Semyonov appeared upset as he watched the video and seemed uncomfortable reliving the incident again, RFE/RL reported. But Boiko laughed while the footage was shown and talked to his lawyer, Anna Murray.

Semyonov's representative, Yelizaveta Napara, told RFE/RL she thinks the trial may last for a long time. She said Boiko's lawyer requested the full video footage of the incident, saying that the two parts shown in the courtroom are not sufficient as they may have been edited to present her client "in an incorrect way."

Read more in Russian here