The government said Wednesday that widespread corruption and influence peddling permeated the law enforcement apparatus of Uzbekistan, a Soviet republic at the heart of the trial of Leonid Brezhnev's son-in-law.
The government used the third day of the trial to show how lesser officials lined their pockets in the Central Asian republic.On Tuesday, it finished laying out its case against Brezhnev's security chief, who was said to have killed himself following discovery of his extravagant lifestyle financed by bribery.
One of the nine defendants stood up in the dock at the start of the session to complain that investigators were using "moral and psychological pressure" to make him confess in Moscow's Lefortevo prison, where the accused are being held during the trial.
An attorney for former Uzbekistan Interior Minister Khaidar Yakhyaev, 61, told reporters the defendant maintains he is innocent of all charges against him. The defendants have not yet been given an opportunity to enter their pleas pending completion of the reading of the charges against them. The indictment runs about 1,500 pages.
According to allegations read in court Wednesday, senior police officials in Uzbekistan sold promotions and accepted gifts from officers who paid bribes in order to remain on the force.
One of the defendants, Pyotr Begelman, was accused of taking $1,600 from officers to help them get off a waiting list for buying a new car. Soviets sometimes wait years for a car.
Earlier in the proceedings, the government charged that Nikolai A. Shchelokov, who served as interior minister under Brezhnev, took cash bribes as well as extravagant gifts, including wine and pearls, and committed suicide when his corrupt lifestyle was discovered.
The principal defendant in the case is Yuri M. Churbanov, a Shchelokov deputy who is married to Brezhnev's daughter, Galina. Churbanov's wife has not appeared in court. His lawyer told reporters she is ill but will testify in defense of her husband later in the trial.