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Siberian Prison Guards Investigated Following Torture Reports

Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) says investigations have been launched against an unspecified number of guards at a prison in Siberia following reports about the brutal torture of inmates.

The FSIN said on February 25 that probes were also begun against 10 inmates who allegedly tortured Tahirjon Bakiev, adding that it had yet to confirm the incidents were motivated by his ethnicity.

Gulagu.net human rights group reported in December and then again this month about two other cases of torture at correctional facilities in Irkutsk.

The groups said that one inmate, Kezhik Ondar, was raped by inmates in the Detention Center No 1 in Irkutsk. Ondar suffered severe internal injuries in the attack and is now disabled.

The second inmate, whom Gulagu.net identified as Bakiev, was raped after inmates beat him and desecrated a Koran in front of him. He was then kept under a cell bed for two days.

The penitentiary administration allegedly then prevented him from sharing his ordeal with his wife, Anastasia Bakieva, and other relatives by not allowing him to call home for more than one month.

On February 22, the FSIN said that wardens at Detention Center No 1 and Correctional Colony No. 6 were suspended as preliminary investigations began into the reports.

Gulagu.net’s founder, Vasily Osechkin, told RFE/RL on February 25 that some of the inmates had confessed to beating and torturing other inmates and testified that they were doing so on orders from guards.

Bakiev and Ondar initially served their terms at Correctional Colony No. 15 in the city of Angarsk in the Irkutsk region. In April, inmates there staged a large riot, after which many inmates were transferred to other prisons in the region.

Human rights groups quoted some of the inmates as saying that they faced beatings and torture after they were transferred to other prisons, where guards used other inmates, who agreed “to cooperate” with the administration, to force them to confess to organizing the riot.

Reference