Female football fans in Russia are being forced to strip completely naked by police as an alleged security measure before being allowed into a match, it emerged Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
Supporter Ekaterina Stepanova, 26, denounced the searches which some reports say were carried out by male police officers – though she talks of female cops – as ‘humiliation’.
The alarming treatment for women fans came ahead of a match in Kazan, a host city for the 2018 football World Cup.
Police in the city on Wednesday, august 6, 2014 refused to apologise claiming officers were acting properly in conducting the strip searches.
It was unclear whether officers will force foreign women to undergo similar strip searches during the World Cup.
Fans of Spartak Moscow complained of the treatment at an away game with Rubin Kazan. The allegations were aired by Stepanova in a blog which has gone viral.
A former beauty queen for the Moscow club – Miss Spartak 2013 – she claimed fans were singled out and ‘required to strip, and that includes being demanded to remove their underwear’.
The intimate searches lasted for up to ten minutes, she said.
Stepanova indicates in her blog that female police officers rather than male were involved.
‘Before the game there were problems with the inspection of the girls. Girls were forced to strip, including taking off the underwear,’ she wrote.
‘I encourage all the girls who were forced to undress, which violates their constitutional rights, offends their honour and dignity, to apply to the official fan club for legal help.
‘The more statements made by us, the more likely it is that the police will start treating us with respect. Do not stay indifferent. This concerns us all.’
‘The line was growing rapidly, as the search of each girl took seven to 10 minutes. The search was conducted by three to four police officers.
‘A girl that left the room said that the police forced her to undress. I went into the room, and was led into a cage.
‘I was offer to sit down on a chair and take off my shoes. I took them off and then put on.
‘A police officer said that I shouldn’t put the shoes on because I have to stand barefoot on the mat and undress.
‘Our conversation went like this:
– I will not undress.
– So you will not enter the stadium.
– I’m at the stadium already, the ticket was scanned, I’m doing nothing illegal.
– We have an order.
– Show me a document that specifies exactly how you should carry out the search. You can search me while I’m in my clothes, but I will not undress.
‘A police officer then inspected me as usual, feeling my shorts and T-shirt with dirty gloves.’
– You are free, she muttered.
‘I breathe out, and started heading for the exit of the cell when I was stopped by a dark-haired, short, thin woman police boss, as signified by the uniform.
– You were not inspected properly, so you will not enter the stadium.
‘I turned to the young lady, who let me go and asked: ‘Have you inspected me?’
‘I decided to ignoring the ‘boss’ but she stopped me saying that she wouldn’t allow me to enter the stadium. I answered that I wouldn’t talk to her and will to talk to a more competent supervisor.
‘I felt uneasy. To the left of me there were all the girls who were waiting for a search. On my right, the girls who were searched. They were completely undressed. Including their underwear.
‘I was shocked. I told the policewoman about humiliation, about the Constitution of the Russian Federation, about the violation of human rights, about the law, about the order, that should have the description of carrying out the search.
‘I was taken out of the room to a metal detector, through which people were entering all sectors.
‘There was an employee standing by the metal detector who was letting the girls who have gone through this humiliation pass. I was asked to stay there and wait for some boss. ‘
A Tatarstan police officer assured me that it’s all done for our own safety.
‘What if you have a bomb somewhere!’ she said to me.
‘I looked at her with eyes open wide, saying it would have exploded long time ago because of them.
‘You go to the event, and we must inspect everyone carefully’ – she continued.
‘I explained to her that I go to different public events, including non-sporting ones, and have never faced such a humiliating treatment.
‘Visiting a play, concert or show is considered going to events. Are there such inspections? I doubt it. Perhaps only in the Republic of Tatarstan they have such rules?
‘By the way, at my request, none of the police officers introduced themselves. No documents were shown.
‘All this lasted for an hour and a half. As a result, the police officer received a phone call and I was silently allowed to the sector. That was my victory.
‘I am sincerely sorry for all the girls that were not standing for their identity and dignity and silently took off their underwear. In this case, the law was on our side. Never allow to humiliate yourself.’
The Russian premier league has condemned the ‘rough treatment’ of female fans over the strip searches.
But a source at the Interior Ministry which is responsible for police matters said that there was no problem in the naked searches.
‘The fans have a right to complain if they are not happy with the police. Police officers were acting within the law while conducting the searches,’ he said.
‘Before the match, every officer was instructed that if the police had any suspicions that the fans are trying to smuggle prohibited items into the stadium, they could ask a person to take off some clothes in a special room.’
The police did not say if male fans were forced to undergo the same treatment. Nor did they argue that there any special warning of threats to the stadium at the time of this game.