MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia’s Interior Ministry opened an investigation on Monday after a video showing a riot policeman punching a woman in the stomach during a protest for free elections went viral.
The video, which has more than 360,000 views, shows a young woman dragged by four masked policemen in riot gear, with one of them punching her in the stomach for no apparent reason. The images provoked outrage in the media and on social networks.
In an interview to the Mediazona website, the woman – 26-year-old Daria Sosnovskaya – said she was dragged away by police for protesting the detention of a man with a disability.
“Police officers started running towards me,” she told the website.
“It was extremely unpleasant. I immediately had cramps everywhere, I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
She said she was then taken along with other detainees to a police station, where she did not have access to a lawyer for several hours before being released with a warning.
The Interior Ministry said it opened an internal enquiry into the case, promising that “those who are guilty will have to face responsibility”.