A Russian journalist who spent almost two weeks in a coma after he was beaten and sexually assaulted at a sobering-up facility died on Wednesday, a doctor in the West Siberian city of Tomsk said.
A police officer has been charged over the beating. Alexei Mityayev said the stress of his complicated personal life prompted the attack, which came after the victim had been on an extended binge as part of New Year celebrations.
Since being introduced in 2004, Russia's marathon New Year holidays have been a busy time for police, firemen and doctors. During this year's festivities, which covered January 1-10, Russians drank at least 300 million half-liter bottles of vodka - more than two U.S. pints of the national drink for every man, woman and child in the country.
The 47-year-old journalist, whose name has not been disclosed due to the ongoing investigation, was taken to the medical facility in a state of intoxication on January 4, and was discharged several hours later.
He was hospitalized with extensive injuries shortly after getting home.
The man was diagnosed with ruptures of rectum, bladder and intestines, as well as other internal injuries. He underwent surgery but soon fell into coma and did not regain consciousness before his death on Wednesday.
"The journalist died today, a while ago. We are preparing the documents," the doctor said on Wednesday.
Police officer Mityayev, who was among eight employees on duty at the station on the night in question, turned himself in soon after the incident was made public. The 26-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison, but more charges may be filed once the results of an autopsy are known.
The officer, who was dismissed from the force after the incident, said the attack stemmed from the "profound stress" of living a double life, with a wife, a mistress, and three small children he fathered in and outside his marriage.
A high-level regional investigator, Andrei Gusev, told journalists on Wednesday that the suspect had no dispute with the victim, suggesting the attack was prompted by the fact that the victim was restrained in his bed.
"Probably the victim's helplessness provoked Mitayev's rage," Gusev said.
A number of top-ranking police officials, including the station's head and deputy police chief, submitted their resignations following the incident.
Police corruption is a major problem in Russia, with President Dmitry Medvedev last month ordering extensive reform of the Interior Ministry in an effort to improve officers' behavior, and efforts are being made to deal with police brutality.
Three officers suspected of beating a man to death in Moscow were dismissed along with their commander in late November, and one of them was charged over the incident, in which one Abkhazian was killed and another beaten.
A police spokesman said all those involved were drunk at the time, and the three officers had barely been on the job a year and were still undergoing training.
In late October, the interior minister of the Russian republic of Tuva, Maj. Gen. Viktor Lesnyak, was dismissed after a drunk police officer in the city of Kyzyl shot dead a traffic policeman, wounded another officer and then killed himself.
The city of Tomsk has already been in the center of a high-profile police violence case. In 2007 an investigator with the city's economic crimes department severely beat a suspect during interrogation, threw him out of a fourth-floor window and later buried the dead body in a forest.
TOMSK, January 20 (RIA Novosti)