A recently published video of prison guards torturing a detainee has spurred Russian authorities to launch an investigation into abuse, in a case that had previously been ignored by regional officials.
On Friday, the Novaya Gazeta newspaper published body cam footage of the alleged torture of Yevgeny Makarov, the detainee in the video, in Yaroslavl, showing men in correctional uniforms and plain clothes beating and waterboarding a prisoner for at least 10 minutes.
After the video’s publication, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had opened a case investigating the guards for violent abuse of power, a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
Regional investigators declined to open proceedings into the beating last year despite two interventions by the European Court of Human Rights, according to an analysis of the case by Public Verdict, a human rights group that offers legal assistance to victims of law enforcement abuse in Russia.
“He’s like Thor,” a voice is heard saying in the video, as one of the men repeatedly punches the prisoner’s soles while at least four uniformed officers hold him down.
Meanwhile, the regional Federal Prison Service allegedly met to discuss how the video was leaked, according to the Mash Telegram channel.