6th October (WNN) — Russian law enforcement on Wednesday launched an investigation into reports of widespread abuse within its prison system.
The country’s main investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, opened seven criminal investigations after prison activist group Guggu.net posted more than 1,000 videos it said depicted abuse, humiliation and beatings in Russian prison facilities.
The investigative committee said it opened an investigation into crimes against four convicts in the Saratov city prison system for sexual assault and abuse of power, and in the city’s prison system between January 2020 and May 2021.
Russia’s prison service said on Wednesday that it fired four officers, including the head of a prison hospital in Saratov.
As reported by The Moscow Times, Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov said that if the activity depicted in the footage is confirmed, it would “lead to a very serious investigation.”
A video published by Gulago.net shows a man tied to a bed being tortured with a long red stick, while another shows officers urinating on a man’s face as he was tied to the ground,
Vladimir Osekkin, who runs Gulagu.net, said: “The videos prove that serious and especially violent crimes against prisoners were regularly committed, which were carefully concealed.
“We plan to release batches of videos in a phased manner in the coming weeks, as the source remains out of reach of Russian authorities,” Osekin said.
Tanya Lokshina, associate director for Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia division, said her organization could not verify the videos, but said they were “clearly reminiscent of past documented cases of torture.”
“It is clear that this is not just about some random event, the problem of torture in Russian prisons is very acute,” she said. “It’s an epidemic.”