Russian police in Sochi beat and rape man with a crowbar over Winter Olympic housing job pay dispute
Police in the Russian city of Sochi, which is due in 2014 to host the Winter Olympics, allegedly beat and raped a construction worker over a pay dispute amounting to around £400.
Vocativ reports that Martiros Demerchyan, a construction worker who spent seven weeks working on housing for the Winter Olympics was accused of stealing copper wire by his supervisor, after he said he was underpaid by 20,000 rubles (£396).
After consenting to a search of his home, Demerchyan was told to go to pick up his pay from his supervisor, but says he was greeted instead by police officers.
He said he was encouraged by police to sign a document admitting he stole the copper wire, but when he refused, he was beaten up, had two teeth cracked, before losing consciousness.
The 38-year-old then said he was bent over and raped with a fireman’s crowbar.
“I screamed,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ll sign whatever you want, just please don’t torture me anymore. I can’t bear any more of this.'”
A medical report from a private medical centre in Sochi read that he had received two broken teeth, as well as “intestinal injuries obtained from penetration by a foreign object.”
According to Vocativ, a representative for the Okhotskaya Building Company, which is responsible for the work Demerchyan was doing, refused to comment on the incident.
A lawyer acting on behalf of Demerchyan, Alexander Boychenko, accused police of negligence in their handling of the case – saying the officer in charge took a month, rather than the maximum three days – to consider the case. The officer then decided that the case was not worth pursuing.
Some have argued that the delay was a tactic in order to allow Demerchyan’s wounds to heal in order to see a court be less sympathetic.
Demerchyan has said he still suffers from reduced vision and lower back pain and kidneys. He has also borrowed as much money as he can to support his four children and wife, but that he does not see justice in sight.
Some campaigners have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics, set to take place in Sochi next year, because of anti-gay laws recently introduced in Russia.
President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial law last month banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. British campaigners have likened the law to Section 28, a now repealed ban on the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools or by local authorities.
Earlier this month, speaking exclusively to PinkNews, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Russia to protect the rights of LGBT citizens following concerns about gay athletes and spectators attending the 2014 Winter Olympics.
He said: “Those days should be long behind us now and for those countries and those governments and regimes who don’t see it that way I think they have to move with the times.”
A number of British and American gay bars have said that they will boycott Russian vodka. One of the most popular Russian sourced vodkas, Stoli, has criticsed the anti-gay policies of the Russian government.