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Russian Policeman Refuses to Testify Against Opposition Activist

© RIA Novosti . Andrei Stenin / Go to the photo bankMikhail Kosenko in the Moscow Court
Mikhail Kosenko in the Moscow Court - Sputnik International
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A trial over riots at a large anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow last year witnessed an unusual and rare twist Monday as a riot policeman declined to testify against a protester accused of attacking him.

MOSCOW, July 22 (RIA Novosti) – A trial over riots at a large anti-Kremlin protest in Moscow last year witnessed an unusual and rare twist Monday as a riot policeman declined to testify against a protester accused of attacking him.

Riot police officer Alexander Kazmin, who is the only victim in the case, said he did not remember defendant Mikhail Kosenko, who allegedly attacked him during the May 2012 rally that ended with clashes between protesters and police.

Moscow authorities said several policemen were injured by the demonstrators in those clashes, and said the officers would be awarded with free apartments. Soon after the rally, investigators launched a series of criminal cases against activists and opposition leaders accusing them of organizing and taking part in “mass riots” that erupted during the protest, on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square.

The case against Kosenko, charged with using violence against the police, is being heard separately. Investigators insist that he is suffering from a form of schizophrenia and needs treatment. According to the charges, Kosenko was among a group of protesters who attacked officer Kazmin at the rally.

“I didn’t remember anything, didn’t remember faces, I don’t know this person,” Kazmin said of Kosenko during a Monday hearing, Dozhd TV channel reported. “In the course of the attack I was banked down and was looking down,” he said. Kazmin added that he doesn’t want Kosenko to be jailed and wished him a soon recovery.

Two other officers reportedly pointed at Kosenko as the attacker during a closed hearing.

 

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