Russia elects retired police chief as human rights ombudsman

The Russian parliament has elected a retired senior police officer to serve as presidential human rights ombudsman.

The State Duma voted overwhelmingly on Friday for Svetlana Moskalkova, a police general and lawmaker of the Just Russia party.

Moskalkova was odds-on favorite after the ruling United Russia party threw its weight behind her. Her nomination, however, enraged Russia's human rights advocates who saw a clear conflict of interest in such an appointment.

The president had the right to nominate a candidate, but he did not do so.

Moskalkova's predecessors had strong democratic credentials and often used their positions to raise flagrant violations of human rights and put the pressure on law enforcement and prison officials.

She took an oath of office at the parliament immediately after the vote.