Russian YouTube whistleblower, a cop, arrested on corruption charges
Russian policeman Alexei Dymovsky, who became famous in his homeland after he posted a video on YouTube alleging widespread police corruption, was arrested on corruption charges last week. Human rights campaigners say his arrest was "revenge."
A Russian police officer, who publicly accused his bosses of corruption and abuse of office, has been arrested and charged with - corruption and abuse of office.Skip to next paragraph
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Alexei Dymovsky, a former police major in the Black Sea port city of Novorossisk, became a household name last November when he posted a videotaped open letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on his Website complaining of inhuman working conditions, indifference to civil rights, widespread graft, and routine abuse of authority within his police department.
The video was a hit on YouTube, garnering more than a million hits, and it inspired dozens of other police officers around Russia to come forward with similar allegations. (The version below has English subtitles.)
Mr. Dymovsky was swiftly fired from his job and last Friday he was arrested and taken to a police detention center in Novorossisk, on charges that appear to stem from his videotaped confessions.
Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the official investigative committee in Krasondar territory, told journalists only that "Dymovsky is charged with committing fraud and abusing his official position." But Russian media have reported that he is accused of misappropriating approximately $800 in police operating expenses several years ago.
According to the official RIA-Novosti agency, he could receive 10 years in prison if convicted.
"We believe Dymovsky is being persecuted because he is a whistleblower; he was working inside the police system and then began to criticize it," says Vadim Karastelev, representative of the Novorossisk Human Rights Committee, a local group. "It is an act of intimidation directed at him and anyone else who might think of following his example," he says.