A Russian anti-war activist was beaten and raped with a dumbbell by police in Moscow after reciting poetry decrying President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, his lawyer said.
Artyom Kamardin, 31, was arrested Monday along with his girlfriend, Alexandra Popova, during a raid on their apartment, independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta Europe reported.
Speaking to the outlet, an unnamed source said cops in riot gear “beat Kamardin severely and put a dumbbell in his anal opening.”
Popova told the paper and the news site OVD-Info that she was also subjected to violence at the hands of the armed cops, who she said yanked out her hair, kicked her and covered her face with superglue and stickers.
Popova also said the officers threatened to gang-rape her after showing her a recording of Kamardin’s torture.
“They told me that five of them would rape me,” the woman said.
Leonid Solovyov, Kamardin’s lawyer, corroborated Popova’s account of the raid, confirming that his client was beaten and sodomized with a dumbbell.
The raid came a day after Kamardin recited his poem, “Kill me, militiaman,” during the annual public poetry reading at Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow, reported Maduza.io.
The expletive-laden poem, which Kamardin penned in 2015 — a year after Russia annexed Crimea — is highly critical of Putin’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The president’s recent decision to mobilize at least 300,000 men to bolster Russia’s battered forces has sparked protests throughout the country and sent tens of thousands of military-age men fleeing abroad.
While in police custody, the visibly bruised Kamardin was forced to issue an apology for his conduct, which was videotaped and shared on a pro-Kremlin Telegram channel.
“I apologize, ask for forgiveness, and repent in front of the multinational Russian people for what I said yesterday in Triumfalnaya Square.” the battered poet says in the recording.
Solovyov said Kamardin was hospitalized with a concussion, bruises all over his body, and chest wounds.
The 31-year-old activist has since been charged with inciting hatred, which carries a penalty of up to six years in prison.
Popova and their mutual friend Aleksandr Menyukov, who was present in the apartment during the raid, were also detained but later released. Both were said to have sustained multiple injuries.
Popova and Menyukov are now listed as witnesses in a criminal case.