Moscow woman seeks charges against police officer who ‘punched her’ during protest

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A young woman from Moscow, who was apparently punched in the stomach by a police officer, says she is seeking justice against alleged police brutality. The incident was caught on camera, sparking outrage from many Russians.

Darya Sosnovskaya was detained last Saturday amid police action targeting an unsanctioned opposition march in central Moscow. Footage shows two police officers in riot gear dragging her through the street. One of them tries to pick up a baton, which he apparently dropped earlier, without releasing his hold on the woman. One of her legs apparently gets in his way, and he appears to respond by punching her in the abdomen.

Sosnovskaya says she was victim of police brutality. On Monday, she filed a complaint with Russia’s Investigative Committee, requesting a probe into the alleged abuse of power. The woman said she was not part of the unsanctioned march but rather a bystander who was targeted by the police after complaining about the way they were detaining another person. She said in addition to a bruise she got from the punch, her head was also injured when the officers were forcing her to get into a truck with other detained people.

The crackdown on Saturday evening happened hours after a sanctioned rally in Moscow, in which tens of thousands of people took part. They were objecting to what they see as unfair treatment of opposition candidates in the upcoming city council election.

Also on Over 130 detained in Moscow after protesters break off from peaceful rally to walk the streets

After the rally, some protesters heeded a call to go for a “walk” through central Moscow, defying a warning that it would be treated as an unsanctioned protest and met with police action. Over 130 people were detained in the aftermath, including Sosnovskaya. She said she was charged with violating Russia’s rules on mass gatherings, with a court hearing of her case scheduled for Tuesday.

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