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Twenty Russian women who were detained for protesting against Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine claim they were stripped naked and forced to squat "in front of police cameras".
The suspects were reportedly rounded up at or close to a rally and were subjected to "humiliating and degrading" treatment, their lawyer says.
Women police officers ordered the suspected protestors, aged 18 to 27, to strip but in some cases cell doors were left open as male officers walked by.
Cell cameras fitted with video recorders spied on the alleged abuse in all cases.
It is understood that the men detained at the same time were not subjected to strip-and-squat orders.
Olimpiada Usanova, who is going to court to challenge the women's treatment, said: “I am outraged that each of them was searched in a humiliating way at the detention centre, violating our legislation.
“The females were searched by undressing and squatting five times in the presence of a detention centre officer.
“A second humiliating search was conducted several hours later in the cells and the women were forced to lift up their shirts, take off their panties, and bare their breasts in the camera surveillance area.
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“I am concerned that female officers did not close the doors as some women were examined, and male officers were lurking there.”
She claims the male officers watched the footage of the women stripping and squatting.
She said: “Detained men were just patted on their front and back, that’s all. The girls were forced to strip naked and crouch down.
“And the next day, they were made to undress again, turning out their bras. This is despite the fact that every cell has CCTVs. This is a severe violation.“
Student Ekaterina Deviatenko, 18, is one of the alleged victims who agreed to show their identities ahead of the court case.
She says she was listening to a musician close to the rally when she was detained.
“They searched us very slowly, arrogantly and with mockery,” she said.
“A police officer in some nook ordered me to undress. It seemed strange to me right away.
“I stripped down to my underwear first but the officer demanded to undress further. I replied that I was on my period…
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“The policewoman replied: ‘Well, I'm a woman, I understand everything. Undress and squat.’
“I had to do five squats."
Russia has laws in place that forbids all protests against Putin's war in Ukraine.
The women had to pay fines up to £215 for attending a banned anti-war rally. Lawyers are now demanding around £1,700 in compensation for each of the women.
- Russia Ukraine war
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