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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Letter Says Colleagues Unfairly Charged

A group of Moscow police sought support for two colleagues Monday in an open letter criticizing statements in the media by a man who says they attacked his family.

The police say the comments by the man are bringing unfair media pressure on the court hearing the case .

"As a result of Nikolai Zuyev's remarks in the media, which are full of made-up facts and ungrounded emotions ... our friends are being portrayed as criminals before the trial is over," the group of Moscow officers said in an open letter to the federal ombudsman, the interior minister, the chief city prosecutor, the head of the Moscow City Court and a number of human rights organizations.

The two officers, Igor Gavrilin and Viktor Lavrenyuk, came to Zuyev's home in December to take his son Andrei to an army enlistment office. The police said Andrei was trying to avoid mandatory service.

When the family protested that the officers had no documents to prove the claim, the two physically assaulted them, RIA-Novosti reported Monday, citing court records.

Only after the officers had forcibly brought Andrei Zuyev to their precinct did they discover that he was legally exempted from service as a result of an earlier head injury.

A Moscow court began hearing the case in June. Lavrenyuk and Gavrilin are accused of abuse of authority and face up to four years in prison if convicted.