Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 67

A recent poll finds that only 2-3 percent of Russian citizens say they trust the police, prosecutor’s office, and law courts, and only 40 percent of victims of crime report the incidents to the police. (Izvestiya, April 2) Russia’s police came under fierce criticism yesterday in a new 76-page report by the human rights organization Amnesty International, which accused the Russian security services of "widespread and systematic" use of torture. Amnesty researcher Mariana Katzarova said President Boris Yeltsin is partly to blame since he signed three presidential decrees that allow the police to detain suspects for 30 days without access to lawyers, courts, or family. She said this violates the Russian constitution and renders detainees vulnerable to abusive police practices which include rape, beatings and electric shocks. Homeless people and members of ethnic minorities are especially at risk. Katzarova said that virtually all that has changed since Soviet times is that the press and non-governmental organizations are now able to publicize abuses in the hope of putting pressure on the government to abolish the use of torture. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow declined to comment, saying they had not yet seen the report. (BBC World Service, Reuter, AP, April 3)

Ukrainian-Russian Air Incidents.