KIEV — A police officer suspected in the brutal gang rape of a young woman in Ukraine was detained Tuesday after protesters stormed and burned a police station in the southern part of the country over the authorities’ reluctance to place him in custody.
Residents of Vradiyevka, some 200 miles south of Kiev, smashed windows, broke doors, and set fire to the building late Monday, while police fought back with tear gas. The protests continued Tuesday.
The case has caused widespread anger among Ukrainians, who say that corruption, lawlessness, and the impunity of government officials and their wealthy friends have increased markedly since President Viktor Yanukovych came to power three years ago. It has also prompted an outcry among lawmakers in the opposition.
Officials finally caved in to public pressure and detained the officer late Tuesday, according to an Interior Ministry spokesman, Serhiy Burlakov. A court was to decide whether to keep him under arrest or to release him on bail or a pledge not to leave his place of residence.
The victim, a 29-year-old local woman, was returning home from a bar last Wednesday when, she said, she was shoved into a car, driven to the woods, raped, and savagely beaten by two police officers, aided by a driver. The woman remains in the hospital in serious condition, having sustained multiple fractures to her skull and bruises all over her body.