UPDATE: Injured Activist Claims She Was Pressured to Withdraw Complaint Against Police
Published: June 10, 2011 (Issue # 1659)
Alexandra Kachko, who is attempting to get a policeman whom she says fractured her wrist at a protest rally on May 31 identified and punished, said Thursday she was being pressured by an investigator to withdraw her complaint and testify that the fracture resulted from an “accident.”
The 25-year-old architect said the investigator told her she would “ruin the man’s life” and that she “didn’t know who it was anyway” when she was summoned for a second interview on Wednesday.
When Kachko refused to withdraw her complaint, the investigator said that he knew her boyfriend was a military officer with the Russian Space Forces, and that she had been fined for drinking champagne outdoors in 2005, she said.
“He probably wanted to intimidate me so that I would withdraw my complaint without making a fuss,” she said. “He also tried to pressure me to testify that it was an accident.”
According to Kachko, the investigator added sentences to her testimony stating that she was aware that the Strategy 31 campaign was founded by the oppositional politician Eduard Limonov and that she was committing an administrative offence by coming to the rally.
Kachko, who is a member of The Other Russia political party, said the investigator also suggested that it was the party that had made her file a complaint about the policeman’s actions.
“He does not intend to file a criminal case, and of course, it would be good for him if I drop it myself,” she said.
Kachko was detained at the rally and says her wrist was fractured when an unidentified policeman twisted it behind her back while she was being held in a police bus.
Kachko was then taken with the other detainees to a police precinct, from where she was taken by ambulance to hospital and diagnosed with a distal radius fracture of the left wrist.
Yury Shtengel, who was detained and put on the same bus, where he witnessed the incident, said the fracture resulted from the policeman’s brutal behavior.
“I didn’t see any aimed blows or intention to cripple, nor did I see any care being taken. It was all fairly rough,” Shtengel wrote in his blog after visiting the investigator Wednesday.
“Regrettably, judging by the investigator’s mood and attitude, I suspect the case will come to nothing.”
Kachko filed a complaint with the Investigative Committee late last week. A spokesman with the Investigative Committee said that the incident would be investigated. A spokesman for the St. Petersburg Interior Department (GUVD) said Friday that a GUVD internal investigation was also underway, and that the results would be sent to the Investigative Committee, but not be made public.
Kachko said she was not going to withdraw her complaint, despite the pressure.