Court Orders Former Cop to See Psychiatrist
Published: September 28, 2011 (Issue # 1676)
The trial of former police officer Vadim Boiko, who was captured on video hitting a man in the face with a truncheon during a peaceful rally last year, took a surprise turn Monday when — during the 16th hearing of the case — the court ordered Boiko to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Boiko is charged with exceeding authority with the use of police equipment while dispersing a rally in defense of the freedom of assembly near Gostiny Dvor on Nevsky Prospekt on July 31, 2010. The court began hearing the case on Feb. 9.
According to victim Dmitry Semyonov, the state prosecutor ordered the psychiatric examination as the result of Boiko’s behavior during last week’s hearing.
Semyonov said Boiko reacted aggressively and rudely to questions posed by both Semyonov and the prosecutor.
During a Sept. 19 hearing, Boiko refused to answer the prosecutor’s question as to whether he had sustained any head injuries during his military service in conflict zones in the North Caucasus, and reacted rudely when Semyonov asked him whether he had a license for his truncheon, Semyonov said.
On Monday, the court upheld the prosecutor’s request, thus prolonging the trial for another month.
“I totally disagree with it,” Semyonov’s lawyer Yelena Napara said Tuesday.
“I believe that his rude answers to the questions asked in court do not indicate insanity, but simply indicate a poor upbringing.”
At the Sept. 19 hearing, Boiko’s police instructor was questioned about what type of truncheon Boiko used — a long rubber truncheon, which can inflict more damage, or a lighter plastic one.
From the video, the instructor concluded that Boiko was holding the plastic type, although Semyonov believes that it was impossible to define the type from the footage.
During the course of the hearing, the police instructor revealed that police officers are allowed to buy police weapons for themselves, without regulation.
Boiko denies hitting Semyonov with a truncheon, despite the footage that clearly shows him doing so.
Early last month, Boiko stated in court that he had since retired from the police force.
According to witness Galina Fyodorova, the lengthiness of the trial has resulted in an increase in the support group for Boiko, while Semyonov’s support has dwindled.
“Last time, I noticed that there were about ten supporters for Boiko, who — judging by their conversations — were policemen who work together, while oppositionists have stopped coming to hearings,” Fyodorova said Tuesday.
“There remained only journalists and cops.”
Boiko’s is the only known case of a policeman being held accountable for violations committed while dispersing a rally in Russia. He has taken a written oath not to leave the city.
The law governing the police forbids the use of truncheons on people’s heads and genitals. If found guilty of the charges of exceeding authority, Boiko faces three to 10 years in custody.
But many participants of the trial do not believe that Boiko will be punished.
“They have been [hearing the case] for more than a year, while Boiko simply smiles and looks like he is fully aware of his impunity,” witness Vladislav Fassakhov said Tuesday.
“That’s because he knows that they will drag it out until there’s some amnesty or until he’s certified insane, and he will avoid responsibility. If he had been taken into a pretrial detention center, nobody would be prolonging the trial, I’m sure.”
At the end of Monday’s hearing, Boiko’s lawyer Anna Myurrei asked the court to send Semyonov, the victim of the attack, for a psychiatric examination too. The judge said that her request would be heard at the next hearing, scheduled for October 26.