- Officers forced into Muslim cafe in Russian city of Surgut, it is claimed
- They 'threatened some visitors with automatic weapons and with a lighter'
- One man said he was told 'cut it off or I will burn it off' by riot officer
- Police say an internal investigation has now been launched
Police officers in Russia forced three men in a Muslim cafe to cut their beards at gunpoint, it has been claimed.
During an inspection of a Muslim cafe in the Russian city of Surgut police officers apparently threatened some visitors with automatic weapons and with a lighter.
One of the men claims an officer held a lighter to his chin and told him 'cut it off or I will burn it off'.
Russian news agencies have said the officers were implementing the rules of 'Peter the Great' who ruled the Tsardom of Russia in the late 1600s.
He commanded all of his courtiers and officials to cut off their long beards and imposed an annual beard tax on those who refused.