CHITA, Russia — A Russian military appeals court in Siberia has upheld the sentence of Private Ramil Shamsutdinov, who was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in prison in January for killing eight fellow servicemen in a rampage he says was the result of hazing he faced in the army.
Shamsutdinov’s lawyers, Ravil Tugushev and Ruslan Nagiyev, said in a post on Instagram that their client’s sentence was upheld on April 21.
The lawyers said that it was not immediately clear if there would be a further appeal by the victims’ relatives, some of whom had appealed the sentence as too lenient.
Shamsutdinov’s defense team has said their client went on a shooting spree in October 2019, killing eight — including two high-ranking officers — in the town of Gorny in the Zabaikalye region after being tortured and beaten by other soldiers and officers during his induction into service.
In late December 2020, a jury found Shamsutdinov guilty of murder and attempted murder, but also said he deserved leniency, which according to Russian law meant his sentence shouldn’t exceed 13 years and four months in prison.
was sentenced to 24 1/2 years in January, while some of the victims’ relatives sought life in prison for him.
The case shocked many in Russia and attracted the attention of rights activists after Shamsutdinov claimed that he committed the act while suffering a nervous breakdown after what he had endured.
The Defense Ministry accepted at the time that Shamsutdinov “had a conflict” with one of the officers he killed. In March 2020, Private Ruslan Mukhatov was found guilty of bullying Shamsutdinov and was handed a suspended two-year prison term.
Deadly shootings among Russian military units as the result of widespread hazing have been a focus of human rights organizations for years.
In November, a soldier at a military air base in the western region of Voronezh shot an officer and two soldiers dead.
In recent years, photos and video footage have been posted online by members of the Russian military that show the severe bullying of young recruits as they are inducted into the army.