Russian Investigators Charge Former Opposition Lawmaker

MOSCOW, May 1 (RIA Novosti) – A former lawmaker with Russia’s Communist Party has been charged over an alleged attack on a police officer in 2011, the investigators said on Wednesday.

A former State Duma deputy, Vladimir Bessonov, has been accused of beating a police officer in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don during an unsanctioned opposition rally in December, 2011.

According to the Investigative Committee, the policeman allegedly ordered Bessonov to end up the protest of some 100 people, but the lawmaker refused to obey and hit the officer with a fist, when the latter tried to turn off the loudspeakers.

Bessonov has dismissed the accusations, while observers called them part of a politically motivated campaign against the dissent in Russia.

A probe into the incident was launched last summer. In July, Bessonov, a military colonel and then-member of the Duma’s defense committee, was stripped of his immunity. It was not immediately clear why it took the investigators about two years to file the charges against the politician. If convicted, Bessonov faces up to ten years in jail.


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