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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Policemen Get 3 Years for Beating Boy

In a shock to everyone involved in the case, three policemen were sentenced to three years in prison by a Moscow judge on Tuesday for abusing their power when they beat an innocent 12-year-old boy.

Prosecutors had asked Monday for four-year suspended sentences for Sergeants Sergei Ryabov and Rashid Starkov and patrol officer Dmitry Pervushin.

Judges rarely mete out punishments that exceed those sought by prosecutors.

In this case, Judge Olga Dubrovina of the Basmanny District Court apparently felt the sentencing request did not go far enough.

"Of course, it is a surprise," said Sergei Nasonov of the Moscow-based Independent Council for Legal Expertise. "It is completely absurd."

The media frenzy surrounding the case of the beating and arrest of Nikita Gladyshev may have led to the tougher than expected sentence, Nasonov said.

That the incident took place in Moscow, as opposed to the less visible regions, thrust it into the national spotlight, said Oleg Novikov of Public Verdict, a nongovernmental organization that advises victims of police-related crime. The NGO provided Gladyshev with a lawyer.

Still, Novikov said, "No one expected such a sentence."

Gladyshev's mother, Kira Gladysheva, a court marshal, added: "We all know how the law really works in this country. That is why this is a surprise. Cases involving authorities like these policemen usually just disappear."

The facts pertaining to the April 6 case are well known.

On his way out of his apartment building to play football, Gladyshev encountered the officers, who were following up on a false burglary alarm.

The officers found the boy suspicious because, they said, he did not answer their questions and tried to flee. Gladyshev said he was scared.

The officers then handcuffed the boy and took him to the Basmanny district police station without a parent or guardian. Both these actions violated the law, Novikov said.

The whole incident left Gladyshev with several cuts and bruises and a possible concussion. His mother said he spent two weeks in the hospital.

Gladysheva was also awarded 100,000 rubles ($3,740) for emotional damage. She had sought 205,000 rubles in total for emotional damage and financial and physical damages. She can seek the remaining sum, for financial and physical damages, in another court.

Defense lawyers called the sentence unjust and illegal. "The judge took the side of the prosecution straight away," defense lawyer Alexei Tevsunin said. He added that the judge had "ignored" defense arguments.

Ryabov, Starkov and Pervushin have 10 days to appeal the ruling, which they plan to do, Tevsunin said. "If that doesn't work, we will go straight to the European Court of Human Rights," he said.

Moscow attorney Oleg Krysanov said judges usually hand down sentences lying somewhere between what the defense and prosecution had wanted.

But he added that he was not surprised by Dubrovina's sentence. "But then," he said, "nothing surprises me about our judicial system. It lives by its own set of internal rules."

Kira Gladysheva said she would tell her son about the sentence when she picked him up from school late Tuesday. "I don't know if you can say that he will be happy with the news as such," she said, referring to her son. "Three years in prison is a serious sentence."