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Russia: Ex-cop, an activist for police labour rights, gets jail

MoscowEdited By: Manas JoshiUpdated: Aug 03, 2022, 12:44 AM IST
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Former Russian policeman Vladimir Vorontsov, stands inside a defendants' cage during a court hearing in Moscow on July 2, 2020. Photograph:(AFP)

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Supporters say the real reason for Vorontsov's punishment was his Police Ombudsman project, a series of social media accounts dedicated to protecting police officers' rights and exposing abuse by their superiors

A court in Russia sentenced a former policeman who was an activist for police labour rights to five years in jail under charges of extortion and distribution of pornography. Vladimir Vorontsov, the policeman, was arrested in May 2020. He was in detention for nearly three years. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Vorontsov, who quit Moscow police force in 2017 after 13 years of service.

He was found guilty by Lyublinsky district court in Moscow of extortion, distribution of pornography and insulting a representative of the authorities, said OVD-Info, a human rights monitor tracking political persecution.

He was also stripped of police rank of major. He has also been banned from administering blogs for 10 years.

Supporters say the real reason for Vorontsov's punishment was his Police Ombudsman project, a series of social media accounts dedicated to protecting police officers' rights and exposing abuse by their superiors. 

He set up his project in 2017 when he was still in police service.

Vorontsov later established close contacts with opposition activists.

Vorontsov's case after his arrest at the time sparked a rare public outcry among police, a key pillar of President Vladimir Putin's rule. Vorontsov was detained in a spectacular fashion.

During an early-morning raid, two commando teams stormed the former policeman's top-floor apartment in southeast Moscow, one abseiling down the high-rise while the other broke down the door.

(With inputs from agencies)

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