Reacting to the news that Russian poet and activist Artyom Kamardin was detained and subjected to torture, including gruesome sexual violence, by law enforcement officers after posting his recital of an anti-war poem online, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director, said:
“The details of Artyom Kamardin’s arrest and torture are horrific even against the abysmal human rights standards of today’s Russia. It seems that Russian law enforcement officers believe they have complete impunity for all sorts of human rights violations against people who oppose Russia’s war in Ukraine. The world must not look away but rather remind the Russian leadership: those responsible will be brought to justice for all crimes under international law, including war crimes committed in Ukraine and human rights violations committed in Russia.
It seems that Russian law enforcement officers believe they have complete impunity for all sorts of human rights violations against people who oppose Russia’s war in Ukraine
Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director
“The police did not hide the fact that they tortured Artyom Kamardin and forced him, visibly beaten, to apologize on camera for publishing a video recital of an anti-war poem. They then shared his forced “apologies” through Kremlin-friendly social media.”
“The Russian authorities must urgently launch an independent, impartial and effective investigation into reports of torture and other ill-treatment of Artyom Kamardin and other activists. Their refusal to do so should be a further signal to the international community of the need to deploy every applicable international, regional and national mechanism to ensure that those responsible for these violations and for other crimes under international law face justice in fair trials. Artyom Kamardin and all those tortured or otherwise ill-treated must be provided with all necessary health care and the charges against them must be dropped.”
On 26 September 2022, armed police broke into the home of Artyom Kamardin and his girlfriend Aleksandra Popova. They apprehended them and their friend Aleksandr Menyukov. During the search, which their lawyer was not allowed to attend, police officers reportedly beat Kamardin and raped him with a dumbbell. According to Aleksandra Popova, law enforcement officers filmed this and forced her to watch the video.
Artyom Kamardin was then put on his knees and forced to record an “apology” video for posting a mock recital of the anti-war poem “Glory to Kievan Rus; Novorossiya sucks.”
According to Aleksandra Popova, she was also physically and verbally assaulted by police officers, who allegedly stuck stickers to her face with superglue, pulled out her hair, and threatened her with gang rape. She was later diagnosed with head injuries and bruises.
Artyom Kamardin was diagnosed with concussion, multiple bruises and other injuries, according to his lawyer. The authorities refused to hospitalize him and his health condition remains unknown at the time of writing.
Artyom Kamardin was named a suspect in a case of “inciting hatred or enmity with the threat of violence” (Article 282(2) of the Russian Criminal Code) together with activists Nikolai Dayneko and Yegor Shtovba. If convicted, they face up to six years in prison.
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