Languages
Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Russian police 'used drivers as human shield'

Traffic in Moscow. File photo
The incident happened on a major Moscow motorway

Russia has launched a criminal inquiry following claims that traffic police used civilian motorists as a "human shield" to stop suspected criminals.

Several drivers were reportedly ordered to use their cars to form a barrier on a major Moscow motorway last Friday.

A vehicle driven by the suspected robbers smashed through the blockade minutes later and kept going. No-one was hurt but several cars were damaged.

The traffic police commander in charge has already been sacked.

It is the latest in a series of reported incidents involving Russian police, who are seen by many Russians as corrupt and brutal.

Driver's account

Russia's investigative committee, under the prosecutor general's office, announced on Wednesday that a criminal investigation into the abuse of office by the traffic police was now under way.

We could have been killed. What if the criminals had stopped? We could have come under fire? Is it really the case that our lives are worthless in the Russian state?
Stanislav Sutyagin, driver

It said it would investigate every single officer involved.

Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev has already fired traffic police commander Alexander Kozlov, whose subordinates conducted the operation.

Stanislav Sutyagin says he was he was one of the civilian motorists used in the blockade.

In a video posted on YouTube, he said the police had not informed the drivers about what was going on, including the fact that the suspects were armed.

He says that just minutes later the robbers' car, a silver Audi, hit his Mercedes and a car of another motorist.

"We could have been killed. What if the criminals had stopped? We could have come under fire? Is it really the case that our lives are worthless in the Russian state?"

He added that the traffic police officers had parked their cars behind the civilian vehicles during the operation.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Russia policeman 'beat' pianist
10 Feb 10 |  Europe
Russian victims challenge police
10 Aug 09 |  Europe
Medvedev sacks Moscow police head
28 Apr 09 |  Europe
Moscow police chief 'kills two'
27 Apr 09 |  Europe

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific