Russia torture-in-custody case: Police pair jailed

Policemen argue with demonstrators protesting against police brutality in the Russian city of Kazan on 15 March 2012 Sergei Nazarov's death from injuries incurred in police custody sparked angry protests in Kazan

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Two Russian police officers have been jailed after a suspect was tortured in custody and later died of his wounds.

Ramil Nigmatzyanov and Ilshat Garifullin were jailed for two and two-and-a-half years respectively for exceeding their authority in Kazan.

The pair did not directly take part in torture. Several other officers are accused of beating Sergei Nazarov and sexually abusing him with a bottle.

His death in March led to protests in Kazan that drew nationwide attention.

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Nigmatzyanov and Garifullin were sentenced on Tuesday by the court in the capital of Russia's Tatarstan republic.

Analysis

The courtroom was full of journalists, who by far outnumbered relatives of both the accused and the victim.

Speaking very quietly, Garifullin asked Mr Nazarov's family to pardon him. He pleaded not to be put in jail, promising to pay 500,000 roubles (£9,930; $16,140) in compensation demanded from each police officer by Mr Nazarov's brother. Nigmatzyanov chose not to speak in the courtroom.

The policemen's relatives started crying after the verdict was announced. Garifullin's lawyer later said he would appeal against the verdict.

They were the first to be convicted in a case that has sent shockwaves across Russia.

The pair were found guilty of illegally detaining Mr Nazarov, 52, on suspicion of theft and then falsifying his statement, which led to his arrest.

Nine other police officers, including those who are suspected of torturing Mr Nazarov, are yet to go on trial.

The victim died in hospital of his injuries, after telling investigators about his ordeal.

This case opened a floodgate of complaints about police violence in Kazan.

The street protests in the city also forced the resignation of Tatarstan's interior minister.

The incident happened after a much-vaunted nationwide reform of the police force, which the authorities had hailed as a triumph.

However, Russian human rights activists say that nothing has radically changed since Mr Nazarov's death, the BBC's Olga Ivshina in Kazan reports.

The activists say they continue to systematically receive complaints about violence in police stations, including beatings and torture, our correspondent adds.

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