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    Russian police whistleblower Dymovsky says released

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    A former Russian police officer who had posted on the web two video messages urging a nationwide crackdown on police corruption said Sunday he has been released from custody.

    A former Russian police officer who had posted on the web two video messages urging a nationwide crackdown on police corruption said Sunday he has been released from custody.

    Police Major Alexei Dymovsky from the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in Russia's southern Krasnodar Territory hit the headlines across Russia in September after he used the Web to accuse his bosses and colleagues of corruption. He also called on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to take action. The recording was also posted on YouTube.com with English subtitles.

    Dymovsky has been charged with fraud and abuse of office, which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. He was under arrest since January 22 but the arrest was replaced today with his written pledge not to leave town.

    He told RIA Novosti by phone on Sunday that he was released at about 22:00 Moscow time [19:00 GMT].

    In his video messages, Dymovsky said department chiefs forced officers to solve nonexistent crimes and even "jail innocent people" to artificially improve crime figures. He complained that ordinary staff were treated "like cattle," had no days off or sick leaves, and said young people joined the police on a 12,000 rubles monthly wage ($413) because they knew they would be able to survive on bribes.

    Shortly after posting his claims, Dymovsky was fired for "libel and action that tarnishes the police force."

    Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, who vowed last August to eradicate corruption in his ministry, ordered a federal probe into Dymovsky's claims.

    This and other scandals prompted President Dmitry Medvedev in December to order a large-scale reform of the Interior Ministry, trimming police numbers and raising salaries in an effort to reduce corruption.

    KRASNODAR, March 7 (RIA Novosti)

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