The women, who had been taken to the Moscow Brateyevo police station after an anti-war rally in March, have identified the name of the policeman who verbally and physically abused them. They received help from the BBC.
The “man in black”, as the victims nicknamed him, turned out to be police officer Ivan Ryabov.
Screenshot: BBC Eye Investigations
The detained women remembered the face of the officer very well, however, they did not know his name and were unable to find information about him on the Internet.
At the end of March, the massive data leak of the Yandex.Food service gave the women an idea. According to the leaked data, nine people made orders through the service from the Brateyevo police station during the last year. One of them only put in his name — Ivan.
According to the BBC, “Ivan's phone number, however, did reveal a trail online - six classified adverts from the Russian trading website Avito.ru”. An advert for a Skoda Rapid car included the seller’s full name.
It turned out that a man named Ivan Ryabov deleted and closed all his social media pages.
Still, there was enough information to go on on the Internet, reports the BBC. One of the detainees, Nastya, found a picture of Ryabov on a dating site Mamba. She sent the picture to the group chat of the detainees from that day. The women who suffered abuse at the hands of the police officer confirmed that
Ryabov was the same policeman who abused them.
According to the BBC, at least 11 women say “they experienced physical abuse at the hands” of Ryabov. In some cases, the abuse amounted to torture, notes the BBC: Ryabov beat one of the detainees over “the head with a water bottle, emptied its contents over her, and then pulled a plastic bag over her soaking head where he held it against her nose and mouth for 30-40 seconds at a time”.
Furthermore, the BBC were able to identify Ryabov’s chief — the police station's acting head Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Fedorinov.
The BBC put the allegations to Russia's Investigative Committee and both Ryabov and Fedorinov, however, there was no response.
In March, 22-year-old Marina, 19-year-old Nastya, 26-year-old Alexandra, and other women detained at the rally against the war in Ukraine told journalists about the abuse they had experienced in the Brateyevo police station. Alexandra was able to secretly record the beatings; she allowed the media to publish the audio.
Novaya Gazeta, Mediazona, Holod, and other independent Russian media reported the torture. A Moscow Duma deputy Evgeny Stupin then submitted several appeals to the Investigative Committee and the General Prosecutor’s Office, however, they were all declined for featuring “insufficient evidence”.