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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jailed Erotica Director Claims Police Abuse

The lawyer of a Moscow theater producer detained two months ago in an Interior Ministry raid on his erotic show accused the police Wednesday of abusing special powers granted by presidential decree to persecute him and hold him illegally.

Gennady Malyshev said in a telephone interview that his client, Sergei Ganin, had been detained and put into Butyrskaya prison, north of central Moscow, July 20 after a raid on his show "Behind Closed Doors" at a Moscow house of culture.

"Ganin is not a socially dangerous man, therefore, his two-month isolation from the society has neither sense nor legal basis," he said. "After Yeltsin issued his decree on crime fight, I would say it is part of the so-called anti-crime campaign."

President Boris Yeltsin issued the anti-crime decree June 14, granting police sweeping powers to detain organized crime suspects for up to 30 days, to examine their financial affairs and search offices and homes without a court order.

"The police have to show the public that they are at least doing something to stop rising crime," Malyshev said.

He also said police had begun a series of medical examinations of Ganin by specialists from a mental hospital which would last a month altogether.

Police refused to comment on the Ganin case.

Malyshev said Ganin had been charged with staging a pornographic show.

The outcome of the case depended on a ruling by a commission of experts to determine whether his show was pornographic or erotic.

But Ganin complained that the police commission was made up of staff from a video rental company without any artistic qualifications.

Lev Shmidt, deputy director of the house of culture where the show was staged, said about 15 policemen from the OMON anti-riot unit had taken part in the July raid.

"I saw some parts of the show and I did not see anything unusual in it but their playbills depicted sexual intercourse," Shmidt said.

Nadezhda Bogatikova, a human rights activist for Memorial, said it was both unfair and illegal to keep a man in Butyrskaya prison with criminals if he was not accused of serious crimes.

"He should be bailed or held under house arrest," Bogatikova said.

Alexei Kostin, the publisher of the sexually explicit newspaper Yeshcho, has been in Butyrskaya prison since February, on charges of distributing pornography.

His wife, Olga Kostina, said her husband's trial was due to start in a week's time.