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Russian police officer sentenced to 8 years for murder of sex worker

After an information campaign launched by Russia's "Silver Rose", Russian police officer Vladimir Sharapov who had beaten up a drug user sex worker to death in Saint Petersburg in July 2012, was sentenced to 8 years of prison and obliged to pay one million in rubles to the murdered sex worker's mother. 

After an information campaign launched by Russia's "Silver Rose", Russian police officer Vladimir Sharapov who had beaten up a drug user sex worker to death in Saint Petersburg in July 2012, was sentenced to 8 years of prison and obliged to pay one million in rubles to the murdered sex worker's mother.

As Irina Maslova, leader of Russian sex workers-led "Silver Rose" said, the murderous police officer was likely to get a conventional conviction of 3.5 years, as such cases in Russia never get the appropriate investigation and court investigation. The officer's lawyer hoped to get him a sentence on grounds of "death by negligence", focusing the investigation and the court's attention on the fact that the victim - Tanya - was HIV positive, had Hepatitis C, used drugs, as well as engaged in sex work, and could have very well died on her own. Until very late into the process the murderer was free but under house arrest.

In an attempt to not let the police officer get away with his murder, Irina Maslova initiated an information campaign in partnership with a journalist from the Russian "Moskovskiy Komsomolets" newspaper, aimed at raising awareness of the general public about the case. Irina also hired an experienced lawyer, who specializes on legal protection of sex workers. Together they managed to return the case to the investigation stage and be re-considered in court with renewed body of evidence against the police officer.

On October 1 the court concluded that Vladimir Sharapov, ex-police officer, was guilty of beating a woman to death, and convicted him to 8 years of prison, also ordering him to pay 1 million rubles as compensation to Tanya's mother.

As Irina Maslova says, upon hearing the news of Sharapov's conviction, the sex workers from Tanya's point of work, said: "Justice does exist, after all!"

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