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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Deputies Accuse Police of Illegal Arrest

Three former deputies of the disbanded Moscow City Council said Thursday that up to 15 deputies were illegally arrested by Moscow police on Oct. 3 and 4 and that at least two were beaten.

Yury Sedykh-Bondarenko, the former deputy president of the council, former deputies Alexander Tsopov and Boris Kagarlitsky and press secretary Alexander Popov also called President Boris Yeltsin's dissolution of the council "illegal and unconstitutional".

"Many of us former dissidents are now becoming dissidents again", Kagarlitsky said after the press conference at the Russian-American Press Center. "We won against the Communists, and this dictatorship is somewhat softer, which allows us to have conferences like this. So I think we will win again".

Popov ruled out legal recourse to Yeltsin's decree, which officially disbanded the city council, known as the Mossoviet, Oct. 7 after deputies were ejected by police Oct. 3.

"How would we resist? ", he asked. "Through the constitution, 50 articles of which are virtually no longer working? "

Bondarenko said that he would not run for the City Duma, the body that is scheduled to replace the Mossoviet, calling it "unconstitutional".

Kagarlitsky said that he and former deputy Vladimir Kondratov were arrested Oct. 3, held for 25 hours without charges and beaten "in the back and on the sides with rifle butts" at the 2nd and 77th police precincts.

Twelve others were beaten, including Alexander Segal, a trade union representative who had "medical documents" to prove it, Kagarlitsky said.

Vladimir Zubkov, a police spokesman, said that "not only deputies, but journalists, foreign journalists, have said that police beat them" Oct. 3 and 4. The Moscow prosecutor's office is investigating, he said.

Sedykh-Bondarenko said that he was among several deputies arrested at the Mossoviet on Oct. 3 and refused to sign a form recording his arrest because it failed to say what law mandated it. He announced plans to sue Mayor Yury Luzhkov for slander for calling him "an organizer of bloodshed".

"Not one of us had a single weapon", he said, distancing the Mossoviet from Viktor Anpilov, the deputy who has been arrested for inciting violence.

The International Press Center on Tuesday canceled a press conference by Sergei Baburin after authorities disapproved. In contrast the Russian-American Press Center said that "nothing like that" happened Thursday.

"We don't support the council in any way", Vladimir Orlov, director of the Russian-American Press Center, said. "But their story was about a gross violation of rights".