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Russian Blogger Detained After Sharing Video, Independent Group Says

A Russian blogger has been detained after sharing a video that sparked claims that several law enforcement officials attended the funeral of a local gang leader, an independent monitoring group says.

Blogger Viktor Toroptsev, who was detained in the Far Eastern region of Khabarovsk, began a hunger strike to protest his detention, wrote OVD-Info, an independent group that monitors crackdowns on demonstrations.

The group said Toroptsev was taken to a police station in the city of Amursk for allegedly carrying an invalid driving license.

The blogger, however, insists that his detention is illegal and that he is being targeted for sharing the video on YouTube on January 8, OVD-Info reported.

Toroptsev has since removed the video, after police officers demanded he delete it, the group said.

Toroptsev also received several phone calls from unknown people who "threatened" him, according to OVD-Info. He is expected to remain in custody until January 14.

There has been no official comment about the blogger’s detention.

Authorities in Khabarovsk said on January 9 that they launched a probe after the video was posted under the YouTube username "ihar felyzen."

A female voice in the video says the footage shows the funeral procession of Yury Zarubin, who is known by the nickname Zaruba and was buried on January 8 in Amursk.

The woman who speaks in the video also claims that workers spread sand ahead of the funeral procession on the snow-covered highway.

Some viewers commented that several police officers and employees of the prosecutor's office attended the funeral.

The video also appeared on a Twitter account, which claims the city prosecutor and the police chief were among the pallbearers.

Authorities have denied that any law enforcement officials were present at the funeral, but said they were probing the allegations.
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