Russian Cops Beat Journalist to Death

Konstantiv Popov's death in detention sparks outrage
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2010 4:31 AM CST
Surveys show that 70% of Russians do not trust the police, who often turn to crime or corruption to boost their salaries.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr.)

(Newser) – A journalist beaten by police in a Siberian drunk tank has died after two weeks in a coma. Konstantin Popov, 47, was savagely beaten and shot in the groin, according to his editor. Officials in Tomsk have charged the police officer allegedly responsible, but they have tried to excuse his actions, saying that he was suffering from stress at the time, the Guardian reports.

Popov was arrested for being drunk and playing his guitar too loudly, not for his journalistic activities, but his case has focused attention on police abuses in Russia and some believe he was singled out for harsh treatment because of his profession. "The figures on assaults against journalists in Russia speak for themselves," an analyst at the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations tells the Christian Science Monitor. "This latest monstrous act of arbitrariness by police is, sadly, nothing out of the ordinary in this country."

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